Affiliation(s): University of British Columbia
Dr. Larry Lynd is a Professor and Director of the Collaboration for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE - www.core.ubc.ca) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He received his Ph.D. in the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology at UBC in 2002. In addition to his roles as professor and director of the CORE, he is a scientist at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Sciences and the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation, a scholar at the Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies, and an associate of the UBC School of Population and Public Health. He was also recently appointed as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. His primary areas of scholarly interest include epidemiology and health economics, working specifically in respiratory medicine, orphan drugs, and rare diseases, multiple sclerosis, and genomic medicine, and internationally in Rwanda and Cambodia.
How did you become interested in MS research? What inspires you to continue advancing research in this field?
I originally became interested in MS through our MS preference study, which was modeled on a study we had done previously in diabetes. I collaborated on that project with Dr. Tony Traboulsee, and it was during that project that we very quickly identified common areas of research interest, with specific questions related to MS therapeutics that could be answered with methods that we use routinely. Thus, working with collaborators specifically in MS, I have expanded my scope of research to apply methods we have already developed to potentially improve MS therapy.
What do you enjoy most about doing research and what are some of the challenges you face?
This project excites me specifically from the perspective of potentially identifying modifiable predictors of treatment response, treatment failure, or of slowing disease progression. This links with one of my areas of research interest that involves predictive modeling to support a patient-level individualized approach to treatment selection and disease management. Having the data from this project to support the development of robust, valid, clinically relevant prediction models that can be made publically available has the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes and improve the efficiency of care provision for patients with MS.
What is your role in the Canadian MS Progression Cohort?
I'm the co-lead of the health economics pillar, and I am specifically involved in the analysis of the retrospective administrative health data for both the epidemiology and health economic components of the project. I will also be involved in the linkage of cohort-level data with administrative health data from each of the provinces and supporting the final analysis of the project.
Describe the importance and level of collaboration in your research and in the Canadian MS Progression Cohort?
Collaboration is key. The ability for us to link epidemiologic, clinical, imaging, and neuroimmunology data within a predictive modeling process is unprecedented. Thus, the relationship and collaborations between epidemiologists, biostatisticians, clinicians, imaging experts, and neuroimmunologists will provide the best evidence possible to support the prediction, and ideally prevention, of MS progression.
How important is the support from the funders/donors in enabling you to conduct research?
The financial support is critical! The best way to collect this type of data is from a prospective cohort study. However, the necessity to recruit and following MS patients prospective, and work to maintain contact with participants, is very costly. However, the potential return on investment given that quality of data we will be able to collect, and of the evidence we will generate, has the potential to significantly outweigh the cost. Thus, without the investment of the funders, a study such as this would not be possible.
Why is it important that patients take part in this initiative?
Often times, patients with a specific type of MS are recruited into studies with the objective of evaluating one specific therapy. This study is aimed at all MS patients and all treatments. Thus, participation in this study will help provide us with the most robust evidence on MS progression, with the goal of identifying strategies to slow progression. Thus, over the long run, the results of this project may serve to benefit all patients.
What potential outcomes do you expect to arise from the Canadian MS Progression Cohort?
- The identification of phenotypic, treatment, neuroimmunology, and imaging related factors that will predict progression;
- The development of patient-specific clinical prediction models that will support clinical decision making that will improve patient outcomes;
- Improved treatment selection resulting in slowing of progression and thus, improved cost-effectiveness of MS treatments, and overall more efficient use of health care resources.