Mission: People affected by MS can live their best lives as we stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost and end MS forever.
Founded by Sylvia Lawry as she searched for answers for her brother Bernard, who lived with multiple sclerosis, the National MS Society continues Ms. Lawry’s focus on finding solutions for people affected by MS.
Research is a core way to find answers, solutions and a cure for people with MS. The Society believes that robust research funding- across a variety of research pathways- is critical to accelerating pathways to a cure. Not only does the Society directly fund research, $1.06 billion to date, they foster research collaborations, convene leaders across different research initiatives and advocate for increases in federal funding for research and an environment conducive to accelerating research discoveries and delivering treatments. The Society is also a founding member of the International Progressive MS Alliance, a global initiative to overcome barriers to finding treatments and solutions for progressive MS.
Recently, the Society has focused on understanding the prevalence and incidence of MS in the United States. A Society-funded study published in February 2019 found that nearly one million people live with MS in the U.S., nearly double previous estimates. As a complement to this work, the Society has seen advocacy success in the establishment and initial funding of the National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Understanding basic data about who lives with MS will significantly accelerate research by allowing more informed analysis of genetic and environmental risk factors,” said Bari Talente, executive vice president of advocacy. “This will provide a foundation for evaluating and understanding geography, variances in gender, disease burden and other key factors for neurological conditions. The data will also allow for future planning of health care needs.”
The Society also advocates for funding for the National Institutes of Health, the MS Research Program in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program and reauthorization for the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The Society believes that approaching and supporting the full spectrum of research – from basic science to patient and health outcomes, will accelerate progress.
“Research!America has been a leading voice for the research community about the importance of predictable, sustainable funding increases for the U.S. science and public health agencies,” shares Bari Talente. “The polls that Research!America fields provide important information to support effective advocacy communications and help us understand where additional public education is needed.”