Researching the causes of and more effective treatments for MS using a powerful MRI scanner

Image shows an MRI scan

Professor Olga Ciccarelli

Institute of Neurology, University College London


About the project

We have funded Professor Olga Ciccarelli and her team at the Institute of Neurology so that they could buy a more powerful MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner. The scanner is able to analyse brain and spinal cord tissue in more detail than previously possible, and is the only one in the UK dedicated solely to MS research.

This vital piece of equipment helps researchers to understand what happens in the brain of someone with MS, and work towards the development of new treatments. Research at the MRI Unit has made vital contributions to the development of new diagnostic criteria and new treatments for people with relapsing remitting MS.

The team will focus on four main areas of research:

  • Improving the accuracy and speed of diagnosis, using innovative imaging techniques to monitor people with MS from the onset of their first symptoms.
  • Predicting the course of MS, in order to better inform people with MS on decisions involving future treatments.
  • Identifying neuroprotective treatments for progressive MS, as the development of therapies that protect nerve fibres is vital in the fight to slow or stop the onset of disability.
  • Identifying new treatments that enhance nerve cell repair and remyelination, protecting nerve cells and allowing them to recover.

How will it help people with MS?

Professor Olga Ciccarelli and her team will support a number of important research projects within the UK, helping us to answer new questions about MS that researchers were previously unable to address. Importantly, the research programme at the MRI Unit could lead to new treatments for slowing or preventing the progression of MS disability, which is our number one research priority. This scanner will help researchers to understand more about how MS progresses, so that new strategies for treating MS and preventing disability can be identified as quickly as possible.

The difference you can make

This MRI scanner is helping researchers to make discoveries that are vital in our fight to understand what causes MS.

The next research breakthrough is in reach

Your donation will help stop MS.

  • Please enter an amount

    Our minimum donation is £2, please enter a different amount.

£30could process one blood sample, giving researchers crucial information about genes and the immune system.

£50could pay for an hour on a microscope, so scientists can study cells and tissue in greater detail and improve their understanding of the biology of MS.

£100could pay for half an hour of MRI use, so researchers can monitor the success of clinical trials and understand MS in more detail.

Every penny you give really does take us a step closer to stopping MS. Your donation will make a difference.

  • Please enter an amount

    Our minimum donation is £2, please enter a different amount.

£10a month could pay for lab equipment like microscope slides to study the building blocks of MS

£20a month could pay for lab equipment like petri dishes to grow bacteria important for studying genetics

£30a month could process a blood sample to help us understand what causes MS, so we can stop it in its tracks

Your regular donation means we can keep funding world class MS research with confidence. Together we will stop MS.

MS researcher at work in lab, using a pipette