Scientific Expert Working Group on Multiple Sclerosis/Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency reconvened to hear preliminary study results from Canadian Phase I/II Clinical Trial

March 8, 2017

The members of the Scientific Expert Working Group on Multiple Sclerosis and Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (MS/CCSVI), convened in 2010 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the MS Society of Canada, held their final meeting in Ottawa yesterday. The Working Group was informed of the preliminary results of the multisite Phase I/II double blinded Interventional Clinical Trial of Balloon Venoplasty for CCSVI in MS patients led by Drs. Anthony Traboulsee and Lindsay Machan.

The results from the UBC researchers were presented ahead of publication at the Society for Interventional Radiology's annual scientific meeting in Washington, D.C. today. The study was funded, upon recommendation by the Working group, by CIHR, the MS Society of Canada, and the Provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec. It showed that there was no statistically significant difference in MS symptoms, either as reported by the patients themselves or as determined by brain imaging and standard clinical assessments by physicians, between patients who received balloon vein dilation, and a control group who received a mock procedure. It does not support the use of vein dilation therapy in the management of patients with MS.

The Working Group recommended that CIHR and the MS Society communicate these study results with patients and ensure that the provincial Medical Colleges receive the information so that physicians and patients are in a position to make informed decisions about the use of balloon vein dilation in the management of patients with MS. Dr. Traboulsee and his numerous collaborators from across Canada were acknowledged by the working group for their exceptionally rigorous work.

Canada has among the highest level of MS incidence in the world and the role of CCSVI in MS garnered significant attention globally when first announced in 2009.  The Canadian Clinical Trial is the first of its kind and magnitude, and represents the gold standard of evidence through the use of a robust, randomized clinical trial.

The MS Society of Canada and CIHR would like to thank the people with MS involved in the research, provincial partners (British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec) and the members of the Scientific Expert Working Group who provided them with independent scientific guidance and oversight throughout the CCSVI evaluation process.

Yves Savoie
President, MS Society of Canada

Alain Beaudet, MD, PhD
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Additional information about the Scientific Expert Working Group on Multiple Sclerosis and Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (MS/CCSVI)

Contact Information

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Jennifer Asselin
MS Society of Canada
416-922-6065 x3144

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