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Huitinga Group

‘MS Out-of-the-Box Grant’ for Netherlands Brain Bank

The “Klimmen tegen MS (MoveS)” Foundation and the MS Research Foundation have awarded the ‘MS Out-of-the-Box Grant’ of EUR 100.000,- to Dr Inge Huitinga, director of the Netherlands Brain Bank, for research into the onset of an MS-lesion. Huitinga: “Microglia are small brain cells that clear away debris in the brain. We suspect that microglia clusters, local clusters of just a few cells, are the first stage of an MS-lesion.”

What makes this grant special is that it makes it possible, finally, to do innovative (‘Out of the box’) MS research. The way in which the winner was chosen was also unique, because the definitive choice for one of four projects was made by the people who took part in the MoveS events, such as Klimmen tegen MS (Climbing for MS) and ArenA MoveS. MoveS is a fundraising initiative that is committed to striving for an MS-free world.

Towards a cure for MS

Thomas Sanders, co-founder of MoveS goes on: “Dr Inge Huitinga’s research is promising, because it aims at a pre-stage of MS. We hope the project will bring to light the starting point of MS lesions, which will be an important step towards curing and, eventually, preventing MS.”

MS Out-of-the-Box grant

This year, 2017, was the first time the “MS Out-of-the-box Grant” was awarded. The grant was introduced by MoveS in collaboration with MS Research in order to enable innovative MS research, with the ultimate goal of creating an MS-free world. In collaboration with the MS Research Foundation, a call has gone out to researchers to submit research proposals for a grant.

The patients’ voice

What is unique about the grant is that it is awarded by the many participants of the MoveS events. Participants of Klimmen tegen MS and ArenA MoveS themselves were asked to cast their vote for one of the four research proposals – and select the one that appealed to them the most. In this way, people who are directly or indirectly affected by MS – patients and their nearest and dearest – were given a voice in the journey towards an MS-free world. The research into microglia clusters emerged as the clear favourite.

“This approach is very important to us”, says Edwin van Wijngaarden, co-founder of MoveS. “In this way we give those who are directly affected – patients, relatives, and other parties involved – a direct say in what is the ultimate aim of collecting these donations, namely: how to create an MS-free world. During the past year, they have worked to gather funds which are used to perform MS research. And we are proud that they have a say in how this money will ultimately be spent.”

Source: MS Research

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Huitinga Group

The Neuroimmunology group aims to investigate the molecular and cellular factors underlying multiple sclerosis (MS). Special emphasis is put on the role of microglia in the initiation and expansion of MS lesions. The group investigates effects of neurosteroids (sex steroids, glucocorticoids and Vitamin D), complement, CD200 and scavenger receptors on microglia activation and MS lesion development using post mortem MS brain tissue and CSF from more than 200 MS brain donors of the Netherlands Brain Bank and in vivo and in vitro models of demyelination.

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