Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

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TD Bank Group Invests $1 Million to Support MS Research Focusing on Artificial Intelligence Technology

  • National News Release

Donation supports the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada’s Acts of Greatness campaign

Toronto, ON – November 27, 2019 – The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada announced today a $1 million donation from TD Bank Group to support research that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to develop clinical tools to enable more informed healthcare decisions in relation to disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for people with MS. The funds will be directed towards the MS Society’s Acts of Greatness campaign.

Currently there are 14 DMTs available in Canada to treat relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). When effective, DMTs can modify the course of the disease by reducing inflammation that injures nerve cells and help reduce relapses and ease MS symptoms. For this reason, people who are newly diagnosed with RRMS are advised to start treatment early to control inflammation and prevent further damage.

Each person with MS experiences the disease uniquely and responds differently to various DMTs. Given the number of treatment options and the lack of predictability about disease trajectory, it can be challenging for newly-diagnosed individuals and healthcare practitioners to decide on the best course of treatment. The AI & MS Discovery Grant supported by TD, will seek transformative ideas that leverage existing clinical and patient data and the power and potential of AI to optimize treatment and prognosis for people living with MS.

“Through The Ready Commitment, our global corporate citizenship platform, TD is proud to be part of this innovative opportunity, which has the potential to improve health outcomes and quality of life for thousands of Canadians living with MS,” says Andrea Barrack, Global Head, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group. “AI has opened up a new world for potential in research and we hope to see some of those possibilities come to fruition through this donation.”

There is an untapped opportunity to derive meaningful insights from existing data to inform clinical practice. AI has the potential to identify patterns and learn from large data sets in a way not currently possible, and then predict the best treatment options.

“Over the past decade, we’ve seen exponential growth in DMTs, which are so important to maintaining quality of life for people living with MS,” says Dr. Pamela Valentine, president and CEO, MS Society of Canada. “We are increasingly aware of the importance of early intervention to avoid unnecessary irreversible disability, but the number of options can be daunting for newly-diagnosed individuals as they try to determine which DMT treatment they should take. With AI, there is an opportunity to help both people living with MS and health professionals better predict the right treatment course.”

The MS Society is now accepting applications. To view the full request for applications, visit: https://bit.ly/35HBCcV.

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About multiple sclerosis and the MS Society of Canada

Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world. On average, 11 Canadians are diagnosed every day. MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 49 and the unpredictable effects of the disease will last for the rest of their lives. The MS Society provides information, support and advocacy to people affected by MS, and funds research to find the cause and cure for the disease, bringing us closer to a world free of MS. Please visit mssociety.ca or call 1-800-268-7582 for more information, to get involved, or to support Canadians affected by MS by making a donation.

Join the conversation and connect with the MS community online. Find the MS Society on Twitter, Instagram or like our page on Facebook.

About TD Global Corporate Citizenship

TD has a long-standing commitment to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. As part of its corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, TD is targeting CDN $1 billion (US $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four areas critical to opening doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow – Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through The Ready Commitment, TD aspires to link its business, philanthropy and human capital to help people feel more confident - not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. For further information, visit www.td.com/thereadycommitment.

CONTACT:

Jennifer Asselin
MS Society of Canada
1-800-268-7582 ext. 3144
jennifer.asselin@mssociety.ca

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