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David Schley

David Schley

Dr David Schley was our Research Communications Manager up until 2019.

Photo: MS researchers in lab wearing gloves

2018 - a year of hope for MS research

2018 has seen significant progress for MS research, but there's been disappointment too. Our new Research Strategy ensures we continue to be at the forefront of science delivering real change for people living with MS.

Photo: Woman with back to camera hugs herself over the shoulder and around the waist

Managing MS pain - what does the research say?

Many people living with MS will experience pain as one of their symptoms. It can occur at any time, come from more than one source, or result from other symptoms, like spasticity or fatigue.

Photo: human neural progenitor cells under the microscope

Firing up your own stem cells

For decades people believed the brain was a fixed system that couldn’t regenerate or repair itself. But in 1998, a group of Swedish scientists showed that new nerve cells could form in the adult brain. Further research found that these new nerves developed from a type of stem cell, called a neural stem cell. This revolutionised researchers’ hopes for treating MS. Their focus has been on how to encourage neural stem cells to develop into oligodendrocytes - the cells that can repair myelin.

Photo: 34D6: stem cell derived oligodendrocytes

MS in a dish

Imagine being able to take a human skin cell and change it into a nerve cell, or a myelin-making cell, or an immune cell - just by adding a few chemicals. It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, but thanks to the work of Nobel Prize winners Sir John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka, it’s now a reality. Researchers can take skin samples from a person and, in the lab, push these adult cells back into being stem cells. These ‘induced’ stem cells have the potential to become any cell in the body. Because of this, they are known as ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’, or iPS cells. iPS cell technology has opened up a whole new avenue of research, which our scientists at the MS Society Edinburgh Centre for MS Research are taking full advantage of. Led by Professors Charles ffrench-Constant and Siddharthan Chandran, they’re using iPS cells to grow unlimited numbers of human-derived nerve cells and myelin-making oligodendrocytes in a dish.

Photo: a researcher looking at brain samples at the MS Society Tissue Bank

A moment that changed MS research - 20 years ago

On 16 January 1998, Professor Richard Reynolds set off to personally collect the first human brain for the MS Society Tissue Bank at Imperial College. Since then, the centre has grown to become a vital resource for researchers all over the world.

Photo: Researcher working in the lab and smiling at the camera

A year of breakthroughs

2017 saw a number of firsts in the world of MS research. We’re not there yet, but the last 12 months show stopping MS is within our grasp.

Inflammation and stem cells

Behind the headlines: MSCT and MS

MSCT (or mesenchymal stem cell therapy) is an exciting new area of research being explored as an MS treatment. And it was featured in a Channel 4 documentary which followed lawyer Mark Lewis as he took part in an MSCT trial in Jerusalem.

Photo shows a researcher in a lab sitting at a microscope

The research triple whammy that will stop MS

We now know enough about what goes wrong in MS to know what needs to be done to fix it. Scientists are working on three ways to tackle MS: stopping the immune damage, promoting myelin repair and protecting nerves from damage. We're not there yet, but we believe that if we achieve these goals then we can stop MS.