The largest funding awards ever made for research into multiple sclerosis (MS) have been awarded to four teams across the globe, with two in the UK.
Over $15 million has been given by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in the US to provide clinical trials over the next five years, into less explored areas of patient care and disease prevention.
Teams from the University of Cambridge, University College London, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Wisconsin Madison, will work with collaborators in Canada, Europe and the US on the projects.
MS involves a patients' immune system attacking the coating on nerve fibres (myelin) and destroying the nerve fibre itself, resulting in numbness, blindness, paralysis and even cognitive dysfunction.
The new teams will research into new methods of protecting tissues and finding ways to reconstruct the nervous system.
John R. Richert, MD from the national MS society said: "We're excited that these international 'dream teams' of leading scientists and physicians have accepted our challenge to develop the tools needed for conducting clinical trials aimed at protecting against and repairing nervous tissue damage in MS.
"This is a new chapter in MS research and should serve as a springboard for translating basic lab findings into important new treatments for people with MS."