MS Society of Canada Awards $1 Million to Research Study on Utilizing Artificial Intelligence to Support Treatment Decisions in Multiple Sclerosis

Dr. Douglas Arnold from The Neuro at McGill University receives AI & MS Discovery Grant supported by TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment

TORONTO, April 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is pleased to announce that Dr. Douglas Arnold is the recipient of the $1 million Artificial Intelligence (AI) & MS Discovery Grant supported by TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment. Dr. Arnold and his research team at The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) at McGill University aim to develop a clinical decision support tool using AI to help multiple sclerosis (MS) physicians and people living with MS make better, more personalized treatment decisions by providing reliable predictions of the individual’s disease course, and how they are likely to respond to different types of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).

“We are entering a new era in which ‘Big Data’ and increasing computer power are making it possible to develop artificial intelligence methods capable of predicting how individual MS patients will do in the future and how they will respond to specific treatments. Clinicians cannot make such predictions at present. Integrating AI into the clinic will allow clinicians to adapt treatments to each individual patient’s unique circumstances, to help ensure a better outcome. We are very grateful to the MS Society and the TD Bank Group for their commitment to support this effort,” says Dr. Arnold, researcher at The Neuro.

The AI & MS Discovery Grant program was launched in 2019 with the generous contribution of TD, to help seek transformative ideas that leverage existing clinical and patient data and potential of AI to optimize treatment and prognosis for people living with MS.

“Through the TD Ready Commitment, our global corporate citizenship platform, TD is proud to support the MS Society and this grant to leverage technology in research and help improve health outcomes and quality of life for thousands of Canadians living with MS. Congratulations to Dr. Arnold on being awarded the AI & MS Discovery Grant. We look forward to the development of the clinical decision tool that will support more personalized care and open up new treatments to tackle this disease,” says Andrea Barrack, global head, sustainability and corporate citizenship, TD Bank Group.

The research project will use an AI approach called ‘deep learning’ and clinical and imaging data collected from over 10,000 people with MS who participated in clinical trials over the last 20 years to develop an evidence-based clinical decision support tool. The tool aims to provide predictions on future lesion formation as viewed by MRI, future relapses, and future increases in disability, along with a measure of how certain one can be about these predictions. By understanding the likelihood of response to various DMTs, patients and clinicians can make more informed decisions early in the disease about the most effective treatments, which has the potential to change the trajectory of their disease.

“This is an exciting project that focuses on harnessing state of the art technology in AI to support evidence-based decisions for both the clinician and the person living with MS,” says Dr. Pamela Valentine, president and CEO, MS Society of Canada. “This technology has the potential to empower both MS physicians and people with MS in shared decision making about the best treatment choices earlier in the course of the disease in the hopes of achieving better health outcomes for the person living with MS.”

To learn more about this research project, please click here.

About multiple sclerosis and the MS Society of Canada

Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world. On average, 12 Canadians are diagnosed every day. MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). It is considered an episodic disability meaning that the severity and duration of illness and disability can vary and are often followed by periods of wellness. It can also be progressive. Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 49 and the unpredictable effects of the disease will last for the rest of their lives. The MS Society provides information, support and advocacy to people affected by MS, and funds research to find the cause and cure for the disease, bringing us closer to a world free of MS. Please visit or call 1-800-268-7582 for more information, to get involved, or to support Canadians affected by MS by making a donation.   
Join the conversation and connect with the MS community online. Find the MS Society on TwitterInstagram or like our page on Facebook.

Jennifer Asselin
MS Society of Canada
[email protected]

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