Update on Challenge and Infrastructure Awards
In 2014, the International Progressive MS Alliance awarded their first Challenge Awards to encourage scientific innovation, and Infrastructure Awards to promote data sharing and knowledge management.
A total of 22 projects, with researchers based in nine countries, were awarded with total funding of just over €1.6 million. The projects focused on clinical trials and outcome measures, biomarkers (measureable indicators) of progression, gene studies, rehabilitation trials, new disease models, and research to better understand the pathology of progression.
This report provides an update on the projects funded through the Challenge and Infrastructure Awards. More detail will be available when the projects reach completion.
As a next step, the Alliance issued a call for Collaborative Network Planning Award applications in November 2014. This Collaborative Network development will accelerate progress in three priority areas:
- Drug discovery programs that identify and validate molecular and cellular targets and screen and characterize drug candidates, which may be either repurposed or first-in-human drugs.
- The discovery, advancement and validation of new or existing biological or imaging biomarkers.
- Proof-of-concept trials and trial designs, including, but not limited to trials in remyelination, neuroprotection, enhanced plasticity
Of the 52 applications, involving almost 500 investigators worldwide, 11 projects have received “planning grants” and submitted full proposals in May 2016 for a 4-year, €4.2 million grant for the operation of a collaborative network. A number of these projects are continuations of projects started with the challenge awards.