MS Researchers Help Kiss Goodbye To Multiple Sclerosis On 1 May, multiple sclerosis (MS) researchers around Australia replaced their white lab coats with red ones to show their support of the ‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’ campaign. An initiative of MS Research Australia, Kiss Goodbye to MS is a national fundraising campaign, which aims to empower those with MS, their friends, family and colleagues to raise vital funds towards MS research. Taking place throughout May each year, Kiss Goodbye to MS also aims to highlight the important role of talented MS researchers and the incredible advances seen as a result of their work. This year, teams of researchers around Australia were invited to trade in their white lab coats for red ones, take a photo and post it on social media. Photos were then shared, retweeted and reposted by the MS community to great effect. Associate Professor Michael Buckland, MS Research Australia Brain Bank CoDirector, and Head of Neuropathology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital says, “Our team were more than happy to wear our red lab coats on the 1st May! It’s a great way to raise awareness about the exciting
MS research happening in Australia.” Also embracing the campaign is Associate Professor Mark Slee, a neurologist based at Flinders University, who captains the ‘Miles for Myelin’ cycling team. Earlier this year, the team, made up of MS neurologists and researchers, their colleagues and friends successfully raised over $15,000 for MS research through their participation in the challenging Tour Down Under cycling event. ‘I am part of an amazing research community in Australia and New Zealand that is accelerating our progress towards a cure. Significant advances have happened in MS research in recent years, and a lot of it is due to Australian and New Zealand researchers. Therefore, it is my hope that in my lifetime I will be able to help kiss goodbye to MS,’ said Associate Professor Mark Slee.
With a combination of expert MS researchers, amazing fundraisers and financial donors, the outlook for people with MS is improving at a significant rate. Just twenty years ago when a person was diagnosed with MS, the treatment options were extremely limited and there were no prevention strategies available for the disease. This meant that the prospect of needing to use a wheelchair or walking aid within just ten years of diagnosis was a very confronting reality for many MS patients. In recent years, cutting-edge MS research has led to increasingly positive outcomes for those affected. The first injectable immunotherapy was released in 1993 and the first oral treatment was approved in 2011. In 2015, there are a total of 11 therapies available for the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS in Australia and many people with MS are able to achieve a good quality of life for much longer. However, there are still people with MS who do not benefit from current treatments, particularly those with the more severe forms of the disease and those diagnosed with progressive forms of MS. It is therefore essential that the momentum in MS research continues until a cure for MS becomes a reality. Established in 2012, the Kiss Goodbye to MS campaign has attracted a new generation of fundraisers to the world of MS, primarily young women – the demographic most commonly diagnosed with MS – to participate in the cause, and has raised an impressive $2.5 million to date. All funds raised are directed towards vital research into the cause, treatment and a cure for MS. The ultimate aim is that we will one day ‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’ once and for all. www.kissgoodbyetoms.org
r Scott Byrne and his research team D at the University of Sydney.
Research Australia grassROOTS WINTER 2015
grassROOTS is a free quarterly publication put together by Research Australia covering exciting health and medical research projects/ initia...