New treatment options or a cure for multiple sclerosis is one step closer after a significant boost for MS research was delivered.
Clarence Point woman Cathy Blyth, who lives with MS, said the funding boost would help provide hope for new treatment options.
“For people like me, this certainty means that we might be able to uncover new treatment options that don’t carry with it as high a level of risk as to the current ones available,” she said.
Mrs Blyth was diagnosed with MS in 2014 after two years of mysterious symptoms, including periodic numbness in her arms.
In other news:
“I couldn’t brush my teeth or hair, I’d have to take a rest,” she said.
However, since her diagnosis, Mrs Blyth has tried two different types of medication, with her current one proving beneficial.
“My first treatment I had to be injected every second night, so it was quite invasive, but this treatment I am only infused every month.”
Record donations for MS research were topped up nationally by commitments by MS Western Australia and MS Northern Territory.
It boosted the national capacity to about $10.5 million for this calendar year, which is a record for MS Australia.
Mrs Blyth said most people might not think too much about research funding, but for people like her, it provided hope.
“There are three prongs – it provides hope for more treatment options, for prevention and a cure,” she said.
She said she hoped the research funding would be used to seek advances in all of those three areas – new treatment options for people like herself, and prevention and cure for her family and friends.
Mrs Blyth said more awareness was needed about MS and what people who live with MS go through.
She said more awareness around symptoms would help to educate people about how the disease affects the body.
“For myself, it’s about grieving – about saying goodbye to the person you thought you were going to be and being the person you are.
“But the mental impacts for me are the most impacting and if you looked at me you wouldn’t recognise that I had MS.”
Tasmanian MS researcher and neurologist Bruce Taylor, from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, said the funding certainty was critical to maintaining the momentum in research.
“Long term funding enables our senior MS researchers to plan and execute their big picture strategic research programs, with the confidence of knowing their funding is secured,” Professor Taylor said.
“This is critical at present to maintain momentum in MS research and prevent loss of MS researchers from the field, with the university sector under huge financial pressure and international funding opportunities significantly diminished due to COVID-19.”
MS Australia president Des Graham, said the additional funding gave the research community a great platform for the critical work they do in seeking a cure for MS and improving treatment options.
“In an incredibly competitive environment for not-for-profits where funding has been made even tougher due to the impacts of COVID-19, this is an incredibly significant commitment,” Associate Professor Graham said.