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“For me, the tremendous progress Myelin Repair Foundation is making toward developing a myelin repair treatment is turning what were some feelings of hopelessness, into feelings of hope.” —Fred Schwartz, Myelin Repair FoundationVolunteer and Area Director • Waiting for a cure since 1994
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Myelin Repair: The Promise

Video showing myelin repair occurring in a petri dish in MRF Principal Investigator Dr. Ben Barres' lab at Stanford University.

The Myelin Repair Foundation supports the world’s largest research program exclusively focused on investigating myelin repair for multiple sclerosis (MS).

What we learn about myelin repair for all forms of MS may also provide insights into developing treatments for other neurological diseases and conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and spinal cord injuries. These treatments could lead to an improved quality of life for millions living with chronic, debilitating and eventually life-threatening diseases.

Nerve axon with myelin protective coating.

Since we first began funding research in 2004, we have invested in wide ranging scientific studies that have generated extensive new knowledge about the natural development of myelin in the brain and spinal cord. This new knowledge is leading us toward the next generation of MS treatments that have the potential to repair and protect myelin and restore lost function resulting from disease or injury.

Our objective is to launch several phase 1 clinical trials of a Myelin Repair Foundation-funded treatment target in 2014, and a myelin repair therapeutic to patients by 2019.

Our myelin repair initiative is the proof-of-concept project for our Accelerated Research Collaboration™ model.

More about myelin…

What is myelin?

Myelin is the fatty protective coating surrounding nerve fibers of the central nervous system. Because of its role in aiding the conduction of electrical signals among and between neurons in the brain and spinal cord, it is often compared to the insulating material around an electrical wire. Myelin rich “white matter,” constitutes nearly one-half of the human brain.

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.5 million worldwide. In MS, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys myelin in the brain and spinal cord. Though healthy human systems have the natural ability to repair myelin damage, in MS where damage occurs, scars of hardened sclerotic tissue inhibit and/or prevent that process from taking place. Loss of myelin, referred to as demyelination, interferes with the transmission of nerve signals and triggers a wide range of unpredictable symptoms, including blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, stiffness, bladder problems and blindness. There is no cure for MS. Myelin loss has also been linked to a number of other neurological diseases including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.

The promise of myelin repair

Today’s approved therapies for Multiple Sclerosis work by suppressing the entire body’s immune system to slow or prevent the immune system from attacking. If successful, the treatments can slow the progression of the disease and severity of the attacks. Immunosuppressant treatments do not repair the myelin damage caused by MS and therefore play no role in restoring the lost function associated with the disease. A treatment that can restore and protect myelin holds promise to restore that lost function.

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Accelerate Treatments to MS Patients

Your support will help us deliver a first-in-class myelin repair treatment to multiple sclerosis patients as rapidly as possible. Donations at all levels are critical to achieving this mission.

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