Multiple Sclerosis, Bone Disease Researchers Granted Multi-Million Dollar Awards

The Cleveland Clinic received multi-million dollar awards to further multiple sclerosis and bone marrow failure syndrome research.

Two scientists from the Cleveland Clinic were recently awarded a multi-million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support further research in certain diseases.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) specialist Bruce Trapp, PhD, and blood and bone disease expert Jaroslaw Maciejewski, MD, PhD, were both granted the Outstanding Investigators Award from the NIH, according to a press release from the clinic.

The award provides funding to researchers who have shown promising results that could lead to a medical breakthrough.

Dr Trapp has become the first Cleveland Clinic researcher granted the award. He will receive $7 million over the next 8 years to better determine the biology of MS, and develop treatments that could slow or halt disease progression.

Dr Maciejewski will be awarded $5.5 million over the next 7 years to continue converting advances in bone marrow failure syndromes into improved patient care, according to the press release.

These latest awards will help investigators seek more optimal treatments for patients with complex diseases where treatment options are inadequate, such as MS.

“These awards not only honor the remarkable work of these outstanding researchers, but will be a tremendous help in advancing discoveries that will ultimately benefit patients,” said Serpil C. Erzurum, MD, chair of the Lerner Research Institute.

Dr Trapp and his team of investigators produced pivotal results in understanding MS. In 1998, the scientists found that immune cells target both the myelin sheath and the nerve. This caused a serious shift in research, and caused MS investigators to assess neurodegeneration as the cause of neurological disability associated with MS.

With the funding from the grant, Dr Trapp will continue to study how myelin leads to brain cell dysfunction, nerve fiber death, and neurological disability, and how the disease process can be slowed or reversed, according to the study.

“We’ve made great progress uncovering the neurodegeneration that occurs with MS. Now our challenge is to develop therapies to stop or delay the progression of the disease,” said Dr Trapp. “It’s a long road but this award gives us the flexibility to follow the results.”

Dr Maciejewski studies the development of bone marrow failure syndromes (BMFS) and their genetics. His research suggests that these syndromes will likely not be cured by 1 drug, but will require multiple, personalized treatment options, according to the press release.

Dr Maciejewski hopes to use the funding to study biological abnormalities found in a majority of patients, while developing new drugs and approaches to treat the condition, the clinic reported.

“The translation of scientific advances into improved patient care and cures has been the primary goal of my team’s work,” Dr Maciejewski concluded. “This award supports our belief that now is the time to advance translational findings to make progress in medical care, including diagnostics and therapeutics for BMFS.”