News at Medicine - October 2014 - Neuroscience researcher working on development of new therapies for MS

Neuroscience researcher working on development of new therapies for MS
October 21, 2014
Dr. Craig Moore, an assistant professor of neuroscience in Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine, is leading a national study that will identify and validate new drug targets for progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), with a particular focus on understanding how inflammation in the brain leads to subsequent tissue injury and repair.
This is the first project funded through the MS Society of Canada-Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) collaboration. Dr. Moore’s study was selected from more than 30 applications from around the world. His research stems from previous work at McGill University. The study will be performed at CDRD’s fully-integrated drug development and commercialization centre in Vancouver. 

“We’ve identified several different molecules in cells of the immune system that could be targeted to help promote repair in the MS affected-brain,” said Dr. Moore. “Together with CDRD, my research team aims to modify the brain microenvironment to resist damage and encourage repair. With state-of-the-art technology and biologically-relevant human brain samples, we are currently developing and testing methods that will enable the discovery of drugs to treat progressive MS.”
Funding this work marks an important first step in the continuing collaboration between CDRD and the MS Society, which was formed with the objective of accelerating the development of safe and effective treatments for people living with MS. Drug development and business experts at CDRD will work very closely with Dr. Moore to advance his research towards clinical trials and subsequent new therapies for progressive MS. 
“In today’s world of drug development, the critical value of all stakeholders coming together – from the investigators conducting the breakthrough research, to foundations, translational centres, industry, government, and of course patients themselves – cannot be overstated,” said  Dr. T. Michael Underhill , CDRD’s co-scientific director. “The work we are beginning with Dr. Moore is a great example of how CDRD can bring these many parties, their facilities and expertise together to focus resources where they can be of greatest direct benefit to patients.”
Although 10 drugs are available in Canada to reduce inflammation and control the frequency of relapses in persons living with MS, none are proven to stop or reverse the progressive accumulation of tissue damage and subsequent disability. Because most individuals with MS are affected by this progression during their lives, there is an urgent need to develop drugs for this aspect of the disease. 
“We heard from people across the country that research needs to be accelerated to bring tangible, life-improving benefits for people living with MS sooner rather than later,” said Dr. Karen Lee, MS Society of Canada’s vice-president, research. “By working closely with CDRD, and funding Dr. Craig Moore’s innovative research, the MS Society affirms its commitment to support research that will bring safe and effective treatments for MS, and uncover clearer answers about why progression occurs and how it can be halted and repaired.”