A team of researchers from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and the University of Saskatchewan has been selected by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and the National MS Society (U.S.) to assess whether a syndrome known as chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) has a role in MS.
The MS societies today announced funding to seven research teams across North America totaling more than $2.4 million. The new studies will carry out significant steps needed to confirm the phenomenon originally described by Dr. Paolo Zamboni who reported abnormalities in the veins draining the brain and spinal cord in people with MS.
The BC/SASK CCSVI team is led by Dr. Anthony Traboulsee, Assistant Professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine and Medical Director of the UBC Hospital MS Clinic, part of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, and Dr. Katherine Knox, of the Saskatoon MS Clinic and the University of Saskatchewan College Of Medicine. The team will receive $200,000 for a two-year study commencing July 1, 2010. The study seeks to understand CCSVI and identify the gold standard to detect CCSVI.
The study will recruit 200 participants – 100 with MS and a control group without MS – from existing patient rosters at the Saskatoon MS Clinic and UBC Hospital MS Clinic. Each clinic will recruit 50 MS patients for the study.
The BC/SASK CCSVI study is the only funded project that will use three diagnostic tests to investigate CCSVI: catheter venography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance venography.
“Our goal is to verify the condition itself, and the usefulness of non-invasive techniques that would make it easier to screen for CCSVI, which would be needed if results from this and other research confirm that future therapeutic trials are warranted,” says Dr. Traboulsee.
The study is also unique in its inclusion of family members, such as identical twins of MS patients who have not developed MS, in the control group.
“The unique inclusion of a family member control group in this study may allow us to gain further insight into the possible role of CCSVI in the mechanisms leading to MS,” says Dr. Traboulsee.
Other BC/SASK CCSVI team co-investigators include: Drs. Christopher Voll, Sheldon Wiebe, Peter Szkup, Robert Otani and Michael Kelly from Saskatchewan and Drs. A. Dessa Sadovnick, David Li, Lindsay Machan, Joel Oger, Alex Rauscher, Alex Mackay and Judy Illes from Vancouver Coastal Health and UBC.
All seven projects funded by the MS Societies of Canada and the U.S. will not involve surgical treatment, but rather the validation and determination of CCSVI’s prevalence in different circumstances. They underwent a rigorous review by an international review panel and aim to identify optimal techniques for imaging CCSVI and to further understand the role of CCSVI in MS.
NB: Two B.C. MS patients are available for interviews through the MS Society of Canada, BC & Yukon Division. Please contact Suzanne Jay at 604-602-3213 or 604-760-1175 (cell).
BC study participant eligibility
This initial study will recruit 100 MS and 100 non-MS subjects from existing patient rosters at the MS Clinic at UBC Hospital and the Saskatoon MS Clinic (50 MS patients from each clinic). Letters of invitation will be sent to all potentially eligible subjects identified from these rosters by the research team. This will include subjects with twins or family members with confirmed MS. This group of subjects will allow the team to verify the condition of CCSVI and to determine if there is a genetic (inherited) link to this condition.
Some subjects in BC who are followed at another MS clinic in BC (e.g. Victoria, Prince George, Kelowna, Burnaby) could be eligible if they have participated in the Canadian Collaborative Genetics Study in MS at some point over the last 10 years and otherwise meet enrolment criteria.
Letters of invitation will go out to eligible participants.
For more information, visit http://www.vchri.ca/s/MS-CCSVI-WCP.asp
The MS Society of Canada media release is available at http://mssociety.ca/en/releases/nr_20100611.htm.
To support the UBC/VCH CCSVI team, visit:
UBC Faculty of Medicine: http://www.supporting.ubc.ca/priority-projects/special-appeals/multiple-sclerosis-ccsvi/
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation: https://www.worldclasshealthcare.ca
The UBC Faculty of Medicine provides innovative education programs in health and life sciences, teaching over 3,000 students at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels. In addition, over 700 researchers/faculty members representing all of the Faculty’s 19 departments, two schools and 15 research centres and institutes received research grants. In 2008/09 the Faculty generated more than one-half of the total research funding of the university ($475.3M). For more information visit www.med.ubc.ca.
Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute is the research body of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, which includes BC’s largest academic and teaching health sciences centres: Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. The institute, academically affiliated with UBC Faculty of Medicine, is one of Canada’s top funded research centres, with $102 million in total research funding for 2008/2009. VCH Research Institute brings innovation and discovery to patient care, advancing healthier lives in healthy communities across British Columbia, Canada, and beyond. www.vchri.ca.