Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Funded Research

Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in MS (CanProCo)


  • One of the unmet needs is a better understanding of, and treatment options for, progression in MS. While current therapies in MS aim to slow the progression of the disease, there are no treatment options that successfully alter the trajectory of progression.
  • A key to altering progression in MS is a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in progression and how various factors interact to further promote progression.
  • The research team will:
    • Recruit 1,000 participants and collect data from neuroimmunology, epidemiology, and imaging to gain insights into the various factors that contribute to progression in MS.

Project Description:

The over-arching objective of establishing the CANadian PROspective COhort Study for People Living with MS (CanProCo) is to better understand progression in MS using scientific methods from many different fields, with the ultimate hope of improving the lives of people living with MS. The research team aims to achieve this goal by assembling a carefully-selected group of people living with MS with different subtypes of the disease, and in different disease stages, and following them over time for at least five years. The information collected by the CanProCo project has the potential to provide an in-depth understanding of both how progression in MS starts, and why progression takes place more rapidly in some patients versus others. One of the most innovative aspects of CanProCo is that this study will be collecting data spanning the fields of epidemiology, health outcomes, health economics, health services utilization, advanced and conventional neuroimaging, and neuroimmunology. By collecting detailed data from such different fields of study, the team expects to gain insight into various factors that contribute to progression in MS, starting from the underlying biology of the disease extending all the way to evaluating how patient, treatment, disease subtype, environmental, and health systems factors interact to impact progression in MS. Bringing together these different fields of study will be a powerful way to assess many different aspects of progression in MS, and will result in a better understanding of biological mechanisms of progression, identification of risk factors (environmental, clinical, health systems) for progression, and developing markers that can assist in patient care, including markers that can better predict how people will do over time. All of these insights have the potential to improve how patients are cared for in the clinic and to improve health policies that impact people living with MS.

Potential Impact: The knowledge gained from this endeavor will lay the foundation for better treatment strategies and will inform future research, which will ultimately result in better health outcomes and quality of life of people living with MS.

Project Status: In Progress

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