MS Society

The MS Society’s central mission - The Stop MS Appeal - seeks to find effective treatments for the 107,000 people with MS in the UK and the 2.3million people  living worldwide who live with this relentless, painful and disabling condition worldwide - the Society seeks to bring an end to MS as we know it. 

The MS Society’s research programme focuses on developing therapies that will work together to do three things:

Three research priorities

1. Stop immune attacks

2. Regenerate lost myelin

3. Protect nerves from damage

In July 2016, the Peter Sowerby Foundation donated £334,155 to the work of the MS Society Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair – strand two of the Society’s vital work. 

This donation has been invested to support the pioneering research of Professor Robin Franklin and post-doctoral researcher Dr Bjoern Neumann, investigating the impact of whole-body physiology on myelin repair, with a particular focus on the effect of exercise and calorie restriction on the progression and stabilisation of Multiple Sclerosis. 

The MS Society Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair has already achieved some truly ground-breaking research including the following two key breakthroughs:

  1. Proving for the first time that one particular type of immune cell can help repair myelin. This interesting study furthers our understanding of how myelin repair can be promoted, which could open up new areas for treatment development.
  2. Identifying that targeting the molecule RXR-gamma in laboratory models of MS can also encourage the brain’s own stem cells to regenerate myelin. RXR-gamma is already widely studied in cancer biology and a licensed drug, bexarotene, exists that targets this molecule. Following the team’s breakthrough, a trial is underway seeking to establish the effects of bexarotene specifically in people with MS.
"We would like to express our profound gratitude to the Peter Sowerby Foundation for their continued support for the exciting research underway at the MS Society Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair. The Centre’s innovative ageing and lifestyle research programme led by Professor Franklin and Dr Neumann is bringing us closer to achieving our ultimate goal – to Stop MS in its tracks.”
The MS Society Head of Biomedical Research, Dr Sorrel Bickley

If the charity sees positive results in this trial, it could open avenues to finding compounds that specifically target RXR-gamma, taking them a crucial step closer to a therapy that can repair myelin, and another step closer to finding a treatment for MS.