MS Discovery Forum | Overview

MS Discovery Forum | Overview

Many important advances in recent years have brought new therapies to people with MS, but much work remains to fully cure the disease. In the past, researchers have faced an enormous challenge as they tried to develop and execute fruitful experimental strategies: no centralized place fostered the generation and exchange of novel ideas about the causes, mechanisms, and potential cures for MS.

ACP, the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND), and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics sought to address that gap by creating the Multiple Sclerosis Discovery Forum (MSDF)—the first information portal and interactive, virtual community that educates and connects investigators who study MS and other demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system, including transverse myelitis, neuromyelitis optica, and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.

In a single website, MSDF brings together original and insightful journalistic content about MS research findings, opportunities for researchers to discuss and debate the implications of these findings, resource listings to help connect scientists with the things they need, and much more.  By consolidating these tools and opportunities in a central location, MSDF aims to help MS researchers achieve faster progress more efficiently.


ACP is extremely grateful to founding donor EMD Serono for providing the funding necessary to build and launch MSDF.

Learn more:  

Mission

The Multiple Sclerosis Discovery Forum (MSDF) is an online resource that aims to accelerate progress toward cures for multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating disorders by sparking new ideas and catalyzing unforeseen connections.

The site focuses attention on what is known and not yet known about the causes of these diseases, their pathological mechanisms, and potential ways to intervene. By communicating this information in a way that builds bridges among different disciplines, MSDF seeks to open new routes toward significant clinical advances. 

Motivation

Investigators face a daunting task as they strive to manage their research programs while keeping up with key discoveries in their own area of expertise, never mind other disciplines. The sheer volume and scope of MS research—which includes everything from immunology, neuroscience, and genetics to epidemiology and imaging—means there is more raw literature than any one person can possibly absorb and then apply. 

Furthermore, interactions among scientists tend to take place within tightly-knit research communities, a situation that can hinder information-sharing across disciplines. Because valuable insights are not always readily accessible to the larger community, novel ideas and potential breakthroughs can be missed, creating bottlenecks toward progress.

MSDF aspires to address these challenges and to encourage collaborations among researchers. Having information about new findings and resources accessible on a single site will help scientists generate and execute well-informed and innovative experiments. This, in turn, will help MS researchers to more effectively and efficiently untangle the causes of this often-devastating disease and develop therapeutic compounds and strategies toward a cure for the more than two million individuals worldwide who are currently suffering from MS.

Methods

MSDF helps researchers across the globe stay abreast of key findings by delivering high-quality news and information about topics of relevance to multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating disorders.  It hosts discussions about controversial subjects and provides a forum in which many viewpoints can be considered as members of the research community strategize about possible new approaches toward understanding the disease’s underpinnings and devising therapies. MSDF is designed for researchers, although access is free and open to all visitors.

The site provides a neutral venue where members of the MS research community can:

Community

A group of professional science writers and editors oversees MSDF and produces the site’s content. The staff works in collaboration with a distinguished research and development advisory board and operates under the auspices of the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis. Members of the research community initiate and participate in discussions, suggest story ideas, and communicate needs for centralized online resources that will help them succeed in their collective effort to untangle the causes of this devastating illness and develop therapeutic compounds and strategies.

Funding

MSDF is a free resource supported by a generous grant from its founding donor, EMD Serono, a global biopharmaceutical company focusing on neurodegenerative diseases.

In order to maintain and expand this free, independent service for MS researchers, we need your help. Please consider making a donation to the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis to support MSDF

Please note that MSDF operates completely independently of its funders in order to bring neutral and unbiased information to the MS research community.