The National MS Fund finances a new, innovative research at our Academic MS Center Zuyd. This was announced last weekend on National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
Dr. Oliver Gerlach, neurologist at Zuyderland Medical Center and head of the upcoming study, says in a response that he is very happy with the subsidy, which amounts to more than six hundred thousand euros. ‘This allows us to better map new damage in the spinal cord of MS patients and we hope to be able to predict which patients have an increased risk of these damage.’
The Academic MS Center Zuyd (located in Zuyderland Sittard-Geleen) is allocating four years to the research. Spinal cord injuries (damage) in MS patients are examined and the extent to which they occur without immediate symptoms and without disease activity in the brain is examined. Without the awarded grant, the research would not have been possible. Rianne Wisgerhof, director of the National MS Fund, also emphasizes the great need for research into MS in general. ‘It is not known how MS occurs and there is no solution yet. And yet it has an enormous impact on the lives of 25,000 people and their loved ones.’
It is remarkable that the choice fell on the study at the Academic MS Center Zuyd. A total of 18 research proposals were submitted. “Yes, we are very surprised,” says Dr. Gerlach. ‘I didn’t exactly expect it. All submitted proposals involved top researchers. The fact that our research has received such a large subsidy says something about the quality of the study and everyone involved, but also certainly about its importance. Obtaining the subsidy and the final implementation is a group effort of researchers and employees within Zuyderland Medical Center, but also of other centers such as MUMC+, Erasmus MC and Jeroen Bosch Hospital.’ Researchers from Leiden University and UMC Groningen, together with Zuyderland, were also among the lucky ones to receive a grant.
Predicting new damage
Dr. Gerlach’s research will be conducted among patients from a total of five different centers. With this study, the researchers are trying to find factors that predict which MS patients have an increased risk of developing new damage to the spinal cord. This makes it possible to find out which people with MS would benefit from regular scanning of the spinal cord. Although spinal cord injuries play a major role in prognosis and disability, a study like this has not been done before. “Ultimately, the results of the research should provide better choices in diagnosis and treatment and the prevention of disability,” the researchers said.