June 29, 2011
For immediate release
OTTAWA - (Ottawa, ON) - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today issued the following statement:
This morning I was briefed by Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), who chaired a meeting yesterday with the Scientific Expert Working Group on Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Patients and their families have been calling for the funding of a clinical trial on a treatment to unblock veins. Our government has been clear that we are prepared to fund a clinical trial, but only when there was sufficient medical and scientific information to support it proceeding safely.
At yesterday's meeting, experts discussed the seven ongoing studies looking at CCSVI and linkages to MS, and reviewed scientific reports that are presently available. Based on this information, Dr. Beaudet has advised me that there is unanimous agreement that a clinical trial should proceed at the Phase I/II level.
I have asked CIHR to establish the terms of reference for this clinical trial. We are committed to launching an open and transparent call for applications as quickly as possible. We have some of the world's best MS and vascular researchers in this country, so I'm confident they will put forward excellent proposals.
I want to thank the Scientific Working Group on CCSVI and the MS Society of Canada for their dedication and hard work. Our Government appreciates all they have done to grapple with this important issue.
It has been a moving experience to meet with and hear from so many MS patients and their families who have shown tremendous courage in the face of such a difficult illness. I wholeheartedly applaud those affected and their families who have to go through such difficult moments.
I have always said that I would do everything I can to accelerate progress in this area, and I believe today's announcement is another example of our government's commitment to keep working tirelessly in the fight against MS.
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health