September 1, 2010
For immediate release
OTTAWA - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today accepted the recommendations on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research recently presented to her by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) President Dr. Alain Beaudet. These recommendations are based on a thorough review of the current state of science conducted at an August 26, 2010, meeting of leading North American MS experts.
"At the meeting organized by CIHR and the MS Society of Canada, the scientific experts agreed that there is an overwhelming lack of scientific evidence that there is any link between abnormal venous drainage and MS," said Dr. Alain Beaudet, CIHR President.
"I accept the expert group's recommendation that we await the outcome of studies currently underway that are exploring the relationship between MS and venous malformations," said Minister Aglukkaq.
"These studies will inform decisions about moving forward with any pan-Canadian clinical trials on a treatment to unblock veins. I will immediately establish a scientific expert working group to monitor and keep me informed of progress on these and other studies. More details on this working group will be available in the near future."
The scientific experts unanimously agreed that it was premature to support a pan-Canadian trial on the treatment of abnormal venous drainage, also known as the "Liberation Procedure" initiated by Dr. Zamboni of Italy.
The Government of Canada will accept the following three recommendations:
"The MS Society of Canada is proud to support the seven studies on MS and CCSVI and strongly believe the results will help us to have a greater understanding of MS and advance research in this area," said Mr. Yves Savoie, CEO and President of the MS Society of Canada.
"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to thank Dr. Beaudet and the research experts who carefully examined the evidence relevant to this experimental procedure to provide these recommendations," said Minister Aglukkaq.
"I also wish to thank the MS Society of Canada who collaborated with the CIHR on this important meeting. This government recognizes the difficulties faced by the thousands of MS patients across Canada and their families. We will continue to work hard in the fight against MS."
Jenny Van Alstyne
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health