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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Saskatchewan

PROVINCE OF SASKATCHEWAN SLATES $5 MILLION FOR MS LIBERATION CLINICAL TRIALS

The Government of Saskatchewan today announced it is following through on its commitment and investing $5 million to fund clinical trials for the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) liberation procedure. The Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) will develop the call for clinical trials, and provide the scientific, ethical and financial expertise to manage this initiative on behalf of the government.

Saskatchewan is the first province to move forward on initiating clinical trials of the liberation procedure.

"I am proud that our province is taking leadership on this important health issue which affects so many people in Saskatchewan and in Canada," Premier Brad Wall said. "We want to put our patients first by helping to find the answers they need and deserve."

"We are pleased to provide financial support to fund clinical trials and important research in this area," Health Minister Don McMorris said. "With the leadership and assistance of the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, we are ensuring any clinical trials undertaken will proceed based on the best expertise science can offer."

The liberation procedure is a potentially ground-breaking discovery for the treatment of MS. However, it is in the trial stages and is not yet proven as a scientifically valid therapy. The funding announced today will help determine its validity as a treatment for MS.

"MS research is extremely important to the people of Saskatchewan," Chief Executive Officer of SHRF June Bold said. "We welcome this opportunity to establish a competitive call for clinical trials and manage the process that moves the province toward clinical trials for the MS liberation procedure. Since our formation in 2003, we've developed considerable expertise in managing publicly funded health research from program design, through scientific review, to financial management."

With this announcement, SHRF will initiate the development of a competitive process that will invite research proposals based on a well-defined set of criteria. The first step will be two-fold: to establish an expert advisory panel drawn from Saskatchewan and other jurisdictions; and to begin developing the call for proposal documents.

"The advisory panel will play an important role in developing criteria for a call for research proposals and in overseeing the selection process," Bold said. "An expert peer-review panel will assess all of the proposals received and provide recommendations."

The advisory panel will be convened in early November, with an expedited call for proposals occurring in early December. It is expected that the successful recipient will be chosen in early 2011 and a process leading to clinical trials will be announced by April of 2011.

MS patients in Saskatchewan will play an important role in this clinical trial. Until a research team has been announced, however, there is no list or requirement for patients to register their interest in participating. Neither the Ministry of Health nor SHRF will be collecting information related to a patient's future interest; that role lies solely with the successful research team. Patients are encouraged to watch for updates and announcements once the successful research team has been announced in 2011.

Information will be posted on the SHRF website at www.shrf.ca about this call for clinical trials.

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For more information, contact:

June Bold
Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation
Saskatoon
Phone: 306-975-1680

Tyler McMurchy
Health
Regina
Phone: 306-787-4083

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