The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the MS Society of Canada have committed 2.4 million dollars to fund seven research projects looking at different aspects of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI). CCSVI, impaired draining of blood from the brain due to blocked or narrowed veins, is thought by some experts to be a direct cause of MS.
American teams awarded research money are:
- Dr. Jerry Wolinsky (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston) is going to use the same ultrasound methods that Dr. Zamboni used, in order to see what the association is between CCSVI and different types of MS, as well as see if other imaging methods can confirm the ultrasound results.
- Dr. Aaron Field (University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison) is using MRI scans and ultrasound techniques (the same ones used by Dr. Zamboni) to look at the veins of people in the early and later stages of MS, as well as people with other neurological diseases and healthy people.
- Dr. Robert Fox (Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland) is also using MRI scans and ultrasound to compare the veins and brains of people with MS and people who have had a CIS to healthy people and people with Alzheimer's disease. They are also incorporating measures of atrophy and MS symptoms, as well as brain and spinal tissue from people with MS who have died (to see what is happening to these tissues in people with CCSVI).
Canadian teams awarded research money are:
- Dr. Brenda Banwell (The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario) is looking at veins of children and teenagers who have MS and comparing them to people without MS of the same age to see if there are vein abnormalities at an early age in people with MS.
- Dr. Fiona Costello (Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta) is comparing people with MS to people with other neurological diseases and healthy people to see how important vein abnormalities are in MS disease activity.
- Dr. Carlos Torres (The Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa, Ontario) is using MRI scans to look at veins and iron deposits in people with MS and people without MS.
- Dr. Anthony Traboulsee (UBC Hospital MS Clinic, UBC Faculty of Medicine and Dr. Katherine Knox, Saskatoon MS Clinic, University of Saskatchewan) are looking at how prevalent CCSVI is in people with MS and people without MS (including family members, such as identical twins), using catheter venography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance venography. They hope to figure out which screening method is most efficient.
Although these studies are funded for 2 years, research teams are asked to provide interim results every 6 months.
I know that many of you may be disappointed that there are no clinical trials to study interventions (procedures to correct the venous abnormalities) in people with MS and CCSVI. In order to conduct such clinical trials in a scientifically sound manner, many questions must be answered, including what is the best way to determine if CCSVI is present (imaging/screening techniques) and what impact CCSVI has in terms of MS (there are some people with CCSVI findings that do NOT have MS). The studies that have been published have just been too varied in their results to say that there is a definitive answer to these questions.
To learn more details about these upcoming studies, read the full news release from the MS Society (click on the links below each study description in the news release): Over $2.4 Million Committed to Support 7 Initial CCSVI Grants to Determine the Role of CCSVI (Venous Insufficiency) in MS Disease Process
Tell the National MS Society and the MS Society of Canada what you think of the research direction that they are funding in the comment section below.
Read more about CCSVI:
- Scientists Call for "Ethical Consciousness" Around CCSVI Treatment and Research
- What is CCSVI in Multiple Sclerosis?
- What Causes CCSVI?
- What Do the Results of the "Buffalo CCSVI Study" Mean, Anyway?
- CCSVI Treatment Reports From Patients
- CCSVI Presented in an Elegant and Thoughtful Way
- CCSVI Treatments Halted at Stanford After Two "Adverse Events"