Search For Causes Of Multiple Sclerosis Accelerated By Boston Cure Project

For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Belinda Vandervoort, belinda@bostoncure.org, 781-235-2882
Krista Milne, krista.milne@comcast.net, 617/969-0770
Art Mellor, art@bostoncure.org, 781/487-0008

SEARCH FOR CAUSES OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS ACCELERATED BY BOSTON CURE PROJECT'S BLOOD, TISSUE AND DATA BANK

Waltham, MA -- March 11, 2003 -- The Boston Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) announced it is accelerating the search for genetic and environmental factors in Multiple Sclerosis by establishing a multidisciplinary Blood, Tissue and Data Bank (Blood & Tissue Bank). The Blood & Tissue Bank will increase scientific collaboration through access to a multidisciplinary resource, free up time consuming and expensive subject acquisition and sample collection, and make MS a more attractive research area for scientists and companies inventing new technologies.

As a first step in building the Blood & Tissue Bank, the Boston Cure Project plans to launch a pilot project this spring to collect blood samples from Massachusetts residents with MS and their family members. To complete the pilot project and quickly expand the collection of samples, the Boston Cure Project is seeking financial support from people with an interest in curing MS.

Art Mellor, CEO and co-founder of the Boston Cure Project said, "There are two requirements for solving the medical mystery of Multiple Sclerosis. First, we need to aggregate data across all possible causal areas because the disease is most likely influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Second, scientists need to collect and analyze information on a large number of subjects because we may not be looking at a single disease." Mellor emphasized, "The Blood, Tissue and Data Bank addresses both requirements and provides the best strategy for finding the causes of MS leading to a cure."

Dr. Timothy Vartanian, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the Division on Demyelinating Diseases at Beth Israel and co-founder of the Boston Cure Project, describes how the Blood & Tissue Bank will work, "Blood and tissue samples from a common set of subjects will be made available to multiple scientists investigating critical questions about the causes of Multiple Sclerosis. Results from each of these experiments will be collected in the data bank so they can be analyzed together. For example, scientists working on MS genetic research can pool their results with MS nutritional findings, enabling cross-disciplinary breakthroughs not currently possible through individual studies."

Dr. Alfred Sandrock, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Director of Medical Research at Biogen, Inc. (NASDAQ: BGEN), and a member of the clinical faculty in the Department of Neurodegenerativelogy at Massachusetts General Hospital said, "The Blood, Tissue and Data Bank will help scientists identify the correct biological pathways that need to be targeted in order to develop the MS therapies of tomorrow." Sandrock adds, "I applaud the Boston Cure Project for spearheading this bold initiative."

About The Boston Cure Project

The Boston Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis, www.bostoncure.org, is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to curing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by determining its causes. Boston Cure Project believes this effort can be accelerated by organizing the research process and encouraging collaboration between research organizations and clinicians. A "Cure Map" is currently being developed by the Boston Cure Project to establish what is known and what is not known about the causes of MS. From the Cure Map, Boston Cure Project will facilitate research most likely to reveal the causes of MS in the shortest time through a large-scale, multidisciplinary, MS Repository. For more information about the Boston Cure Project or to make a corporate or individual donation, call 781/487-0008, visit bostoncure.org, or send an email to info-web0706@bostoncure.org.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system that often results in severe disability including the inability to walk, blindness, cognitive dysfunction, extreme fatigue and other serious symptoms. MS affects over 400,000 people in the US and 2 million individuals worldwide. The disorder occurs twice as often in women as in men. The cause is not known and there is no known cure.