The University of British Columbia and the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) & UBC Hospital Foundation have received the largest known donation ever for multiple sclerosis (MS) research worldwide.
The $33.8 million dollar gift from a philanthropist will go toward establishing the B.C. MS Cell Therapies Translational Research Network, or MS Research Network.
The network will use the latest advances in cell and gene engineering to develop, manufacture, and test next-generation cell-based therapies.
It will also help augment clinical services for patients and their families.
$14.8 million will be used by the UBC to hire world-class researchers, and $15 million will go toward biomanufacturing infrastructure for local development and clinical testing of homegrown cell and gene therapies.
$4 million has also been committed to Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) to support the development and delivery of a more robust, integrated, and comprehensive model of care within the MS Clinic.
MS patient advocate, Heidi Scott, said that this donation is a beacon of hope for patients not only in B.C. but globally.
“Research is care,” says Scott, “My hope is that this investment will help integrate research into clinical care in hospital and community settings so that more patients have the option to be involved in research that contributes to improved therapeutics.”