MS Discovery Forum to Suspend Publication
Lack of funding ends new content, but archive remains open and free.
We are announcing important changes at MS Discovery Forum. After July, MSDF will suspend new content creation and publishing activities. For the foreseeable future, the existing MSDF original content will be archived and remain freely available at msdiscovery.org.
The decision to discontinue MSDF operations has been a difficult one that has been driven by strategic and financial factors. MSDF was founded in 2012 by the Accelerated Cure Project for MS (ACP), a non-profit organization dedicated to removing barriers and accelerating research toward a cure.
In recent times, robust and reliable funding for MSDF has become increasingly difficult to attract. Lack of financial support and competing opportunities to accelerate MS research in other important ways ultimately led to this decision.
ACP still believes strongly in the mission of MSDF, providing high-quality open-access news and information to all MS stakeholders to inspire connections and promote advances in MS research.
Importantly, we are also searching for potential partners or a new home base to carry on the mission by continuing and/or repurposing MSDF’s various content streams and resources of interest. Let us know your ideas. The steadily growing audience suggests MSDF serves an unmet communications need in the MS research, clinical, and patient/caregiver communities.
We have added a brief description of MSDF to the end of this post and invite you to share it with any individual or organization that may have an interest in using or expanding the resources we have developed.
As you can see, MSDF has become a significant and important resource since its launch in 2012. We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished and are most appreciative of your support over the years. We are particularly grateful for unrestricted founding support from EMD Serono, for support for MSDF initiatives and operations from the National MS Society, Biogen, and Sanofi Genzyme, as well as donations from generous individual contributors.
We’ll be producing a few more data visualizations and podcasts over the next few weeks, so please make sure to have a look or a listen when they are posted. And take note of other ongoing ACP projects that may be important to your research interests:
- Launched 18 months ago, iConquerMSTM is a patient-powered research network (iConquerMS.org) created to promote patient-centered research and to engage people with MS and researchers in conducting studies on topics important to the MS community. Nearly 3,000 people have registered so far, and 17 proposed research projects and collaborative funding applications are in the pipeline. Topics range from on-line mood interventions to telerehabilitation to response to MS disease-modifying therapies.
- The ACP Repository is an open-access collection of blood-derived biological samples and data from 3,200 people with MS and other demyelinating diseases, as well as from control subjects. ACP can provide researchers with biosamples and data quickly and at minimal cost so that talented scientists can devote their efforts to their novel research instead of the laborious process of sample collection. ACP has approved nearly 100 projects and welcomes inquiries about new studies.
- OPT-UP is a U.S.-based, multicenter longitudinal clinical research study that will enroll 2,500 people with MS and follow them for up to 5 years. The goals of the study are to: (1) Generate a robust evidence base of factors affecting treatment outcomes in MS to guide the choice of treatments and other interventions for MS patients. (2) Produce knowledge and tools for developing strategies and/or medicines to slow, arrest, or reverse progressive MS. Data and biosamples obtained through this study will be available on an open-access basis. OPT-UP is in the implementation phase and is expected to launch later in 2016.
Thanks again for your support of MSDF. It has been a privilege to bring MSDF to you over the past 4 years. Please do not hesitate to email if we can answer any questions.
MSDF: The first four years
Multiple Sclerosis Discovery Forum is a non-profit research news site based in the Boston area, with an international audience eager for credible, important, and engaging stories. In the last year, the steadily expanding audience drew readers from 190 countries, with about half of regular MSDF viewers in the United States. In May alone, MSDF clocked more than 34,000 page views by more than 19,000 users.
Since 2012, MS Discovery Forum has delivered news, explanatory journalism, and other information and resources about multiple sclerosis and related demyelinating disorders. MSDF has focused on finding and telling stories that matter to scientists, clinical researchers, and other stakeholders. Experienced health and science journalists have served on staff and as correspondents. Distinguished leaders in research, clinical care, and public health have served as advisors. The world’s top MS researchers have granted interviews, offered insightful perspectives, and provided helpful comments.
When MSDF launched four years ago, it targeted a core audience of researchers, including clinicians. Unexpectedly, MSDF also quickly became a trusted source for people with MS and other stakeholders interested in high-level news and information. MSDF embraced this expanded audience, which represents a potentially transformative trend of people-formerly-known-as-patients becoming partners and leaders in research.
Some of the MSDF assets include:
- Steadily growing online community.
- More than 34,000 monthly page views and 19,000 users.
- 1,900 highly engaged members (registered to comment, post jobs, receive newsletter, etc).
- More than 1,000 fans on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MSDiscoveryForum
- More than 1,500 followers on Twitter: https://twitter.com/msdforum
- Registered as news media with Google (new content is instantly available on a Google news search).
- News archive of nearly 400 in-depth synthesis articles, new findings, news briefs, blog entries, essays & opinions.
- MS Discovery podcast archive, available for free at MSDF, iTunes store, and Liberated Syndication, a podcast syndicator http://msdiscovery.libsyn.com/ (Nearly 100 podcasts will be available by the end of July 2016)
- Data visualizations (23 will be available by end of summer 2016)
- Drug development database (updated 5/14/2012 to 4/20/16)
- Other professional resources: Papers archive linked to PubMed.gov (updated to 5/23/16), calendar, jobs, funding opportunities, collaborations)
- Other research resources (lists of tissue repositories and brain banks, animal models, and clinical trial database referrals)
- A four-year funding track record of philanthropic support from major pharmaceutical and biotech companies and leading patient advocacy organization.