From the Cure Map analyses, we realized that MS is highly complex and that research efforts could be accelerated toward a cure if more high-quality materials, particularly biosamples and associated clinical data, were readily and cost-efficiently available to the research community. Additionally, drawing upon the founder’s experience of the enormous benefits of sharing resources in the high-tech industry, we decided to actively promote the sharing of resources and results as a key aspect of our approach to accelerating efforts toward a cure.
We formally launched the ACP Repository in 2006 as a source of high-quality materials, readily and cost-efficiently available to the MS research community, and also as a platform to bring together data about multiple aspects of MS that can be analyzed together to enable a deeper understanding of the causes and mechanisms of the disease.
Working with our network of leading neurologic clinics, we have enrolled thousands of study participants—with and without MS and other neurological conditions. These donated samples have helped to enable numerous studies, and millions of data points in the ACP Repository database are now available for the benefit of all researchers. See the current status of the ACP Repository.
Recognizing also that efforts toward a cure could be accelerated if the MS researchers had a forum to share ideas, in the spring of 2012 ACP introduced the Multiple Sclerosis Discovery Forum (MSDF)—an interactive virtual community that connects and educates investigators who study MS and other demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system. MSDF was created through collaboration with the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND) and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics.
Neither of these initiatives would have been possible without our earlier work on the Cure Map.