The University of Saskatchewan will spend $8.4 million towards finding a cure for multiple sclerosis.
The school recruited renowned MS researcher Dr. Michael Levin, who will take up the position for a seven-year term in March.
“I want to end MS in that time frame,” Levin said at a press conference Thursday.
Saskatchewan has the highest rates of the debilitating disease in the world. Levin said his research team is going to study patients closely by taking blood samples and monitoring them every step of the way.
“My dream is every patient with MS would participate in my survey,” Levin said, adding that he hopes Saskatchewan becomes a world leader in MS research.
In a press release, Levin said he has dedicated most of his life to exploring the causes of MS — with research focused on the relationship between viruses, autoantibodies and acquired DNA mutations.
Dr. Levin will leave the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis for the position. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship with a focus on multiple sclerosis at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. His medical degree is from Pennsylvania State University.
“This is another terrific example of how we are attracting top researchers to this campus, and how partnerships in the health sector, led by our College of Medicine, can advance health research for the benefit of the people of Saskatchewan and beyond,” said U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad.
The new research money is provided by the Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, the MS Society of Canada, the U of S Centennial Enhancement Chair program, as well as the U of S College of Medicine and the Saskatoon Health Region.
“We aren’t at the finish line, but it’s a big leap,” said President of the MS Society of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Erin Kaun.