The National Spanish Hospital of Paraplegics and Merck collaborate in an international research project against multiple sclerosis (MS)
This collaboration responds to the high quality of the research and scientific talent of the Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos and the commitment of the science and technology company Merck to invest in R&D in Spain
The National Spanish Hospital of Paraplegics Foundation and the science and technology company Merck have signed a collaboration agreement to advance in the research of a potential therapy against multiple sclerosis (MS) through a study carried out by the Neuroimmune-Repair research group of this hospital and led by Dr Diego Clemente.
As a result of the agreement, the group will research the effects that an oral inhibitor of a protein (Bruton's tyrosine kinase or BTK) has on myeloid suppressor cells.
Jesús Fernández Sanz, regional Health minister indicated: "It is an honour for the National Hospital of Paraplegics and its Foundation to be part of the international network of research centres with which a company of the size, history and importance of Merck collaborates. With their support, we see a recognition for the research trajectory of this unique hospital in the search for therapeutic alternatives for our patients ".
For Dr Diego Clemente, the signing of this agreement "represents a turning point in the commitment of our research group to basic science, based on animal models, but focused on its direct utility for the patient in the shortest possible time".
Miguel F. Alcalde, General Manager of Merck in Spain, explained that "this is an important day for those of us who defend the quality of the research carried out in our country and are aware of the immense talent of the national scientific community. I am especially proud that, among the 66 countries in which Merck has a presence, Spain occupies a prominent place and is considered a pole of attraction for international research projects, such as this preclinical study that will be led by the National Hospital of Paraplegics at Toledo".
MS is a chronic neurodegenerative disease with an unknown origin that affects more than 50,000 people in Spain and has already become the second leading cause of disability in young adults, only surpassed by traffic accidents. It is characterized by the fact that the body's natural defences stop working normally and attack the myelin, which is the protective layer of the neurons of the central nervous system. As a result, various symptoms may appear, which vary considerably from one person to another -which is why MS is known as "the disease of a thousand faces"- the most common being fatigue, blurred vision, numbness and tingling in the lower limbs, loss of strength and coordination problems.