Highlights from the November 20, 2012 CIHR Scientific Expert Working Group Meeting

A meeting of the Scientific Expert Working Group was held in Toronto on November 20, 2012 (meeting agenda).

The Scientific Expert Working Group was updated on the research literature that was recently published on Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI), and on the literature presented at recent scientific conferences, including the 28th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS, October 10-13, 2012, Lyon, France).

An update was provided by each team of investigators regarding the progress of the seven North American studies funded by the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada and the National MS Society (US) on the association of CCSVI with MS.

The Scientific Expert Working Group also received and discussed the updated systematic review conducted by Dr. Laupacis and his collaborators on the MS/CCSVI issue.

Finally, the Scientific Expert Working Group received an update on the Phase I/II Clinical Trial conducted by Dr. Traboulsee and his collaborators, on the safety and efficacy of the CCSVI procedure.

Meeting Outcomes

  • All but two of the seven MS Society-sponsored studies are completed and the results have or are about to be submitted for publication. Several investigators of these seven studies presented their findings at the 2012 ECTRIMS meeting.

  • The Scientific Expert Working Group recommended that Dr. Laupacis wait for the Cochrane collaboration systematic review on this topic to be published (expected in the next few months) before having his own review update published. The next update expected for March should include the results of the CoSMo study (Italian study that should be published by then) as well as those of the MS Society-funded studies.

  • Dr. Traboulsse informed the Scientific Expert Working Group that the Phase I/II clinical trial has now started. Researchers involved have already met to ensure that the standardized research protocol will be uniformly used across the different sites of the study. The next step is to ensure that individuals who will perform the clinical intervention receive the same training before performing the procedure on MS patients. International experts will be involved in the training session that will be organized in the coming weeks.

  • The Scientific Expert Working Group will continue to monitor the scientific evidence on CCSVI and will continue to work with CIHR as necessary as the Canadian clinical trial progresses.

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