Getting Research Back on Track
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc with scientific and medical research and most organisations supporting research are re-examining their position, especially in areas such as fundraising and short and long-term planning.
As an example of how we plan research funding, MS Research normally works to five-year plans with a view to enabling the funding of several projects over time that will feed data into a common problem associated with MS. One example of our problem-centred approach is fatigue, a common symptom of MS that we cannot treat effectively, nor do we understand why people with MS suffer from debilitating fatigue. In the case of fatigue, we have helped to successfully research a new approach to helping people with MS to manage their fatigue while also supporting a programme of work to try and understand the origins of fatigue using MRI brain scans and the responses of different brain areas to fatiguing tasks. Sadly, we cannot continue this work at present, as the university concerned has closed its research scanning facility to research programmes that are not COVID-19 specific.
It is not only the financial losses that charities like us need to make up for but also the loss, in some cases, of established groups of experts applying their expertise to difficult problems that need to be investigated. We will, of course, be seeking to move the MRI scanning project to a different location, but greatly regret the loss of the resources necessary to try and resolve the problem of fatigue in MS and the many other life-changing symptoms it brings.
MS Research is slowly returning to more normal levels of activity, both in fundraising and in rebuilding projects held in suspension while hospitals and universities coped with the pandemic. We recognise that it will take some time for life to return to more normal activity levels and fundraising events can be reinstated. We already have several requests for research funding from groups anxious to return to work and to keep up the momentum of striving for better care and support for those who have MS until more effective treatments can be found, and we can finally say that MS is no longer “incurable”.
If you can, please help us to make up for lost time and accelerate the efforts to make a real difference for everyone who has MS.