Dallas researchers are making strides in the quest for a world free of multiple sclerosis (MS). Local MS experts revolutionizing diagnosis and treatment for the chronic autoimmune disease are speaking out about their groundbreaking research and calling for action to support the National MS Society during MS Awareness Week, March 3-9, 2014.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researcher Nancy Monson, Ph. D., is a renowned authority on B cell research in humans, and is among those leading the charge to cure MS. In the past three years, Dr. Monson has developed a validated method for pretesting people living with MS to determine if they are a carrier of a unique antibody gene that leads to the disease, thus mitigating the long-standing challenge of diagnosis. In addition to her work published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology, Monson is also testing disease modifying therapies for patients currently living with MS to determine which are more effective for a specific patient’s genes, reducing years of potential testing on treatments and minimizing the diseases’ impact by going directly to effective targeted therapies.
“My ultimate goal is to eliminate this disease and not have MS patients to treat in the future, and our lab is on the cusp of finding the answer,” Monson said. UT Southwestern’s Clinical Center for Multiple Sclerosis is one of the foremost comprehensive MS centers in the nation, with more than 4,500 patients from North Texas and around the world.
In addition to Monson’s research, physiologist Scott Davis, Ph.D is pursuing human based research at Southern Methodist University. His work has profound implications for understanding both the biology of MS and the impact to autonomic nervous system functions in those diagnosed with the disease. By working with people living with MS, Davis’ goal is to figure out why their bodies are reacting the way they are to factors such as temperature and exercise, and in the process help to improve the treatments allowing patients to minimize disease symptoms.
Leah Weatherl, vice president of development for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in North Texas, is benefiting from the new research both professionally as well as personally.
“As a patient myself, it’s incredibly inspiring to see how far and how quickly research has advanced because of the National MS Society’s funding,” Weatherl said. “Thanks to the groundbreaking research being conducted here in our own backyard in Dallas, we are confident that we will be able to help people to determine if they are at risk, and to more effectively treat people already living with MS.”
Supporters can help fund the lifesaving efforts by registering to participate in the organization’s upcoming events in North Texas:
Walk MS: Fort Worth – March 29, 2014
Join Walk MS: Fort Worth at Trinity Park and participate in the 1-mile or 5K route to connect locally with people living with MS and others dedicated to creating a world free of multiple sclerosis.
Walk MS: Dallas – April 12, 2014
Join Walk MS: Dallas at Addison Circle Park and participate in the 1-mile or 5K route.
Bike MS: Sam’s Club Round-Up Ride – May 3 – 4, 2014
Saddle up and join the National MS Society for Bike MS: Sam’s Club Round-Up Ride as we tour the scenic countryside of North Texas. Riders of all ages (minimum 12 years) and skill levels will set out on this two-day journey! Bike MS, Jr., sponsored by Geico, on May 3 invites youth between the ages of 5 and 14 to ride at Texas Motor Speedway and make a difference for families affected by MS.
For more information on ways to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society during National MS Awareness Week connect with National MS Society, Texas on Facebook or visit MStexas.org.
SOURCE National Multiple Sclerosis Society