Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis

The Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of MS. The foundation funds core research conducted by the Center Without Walls program, a selected network of the nation’s top MS research centers.

On May 19, 2012, the foundation held its annual MS Forum and Expo in Los Angeles, which is featured in the video in this program. Listed below are the doctors, researchers, and patients who participated.

Center Without Walls Doctors and Researchers

Rohit Bakshi, MD, MA

Dr. Bakshi is a Professor of Neurology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He is Director of the Laboratory for Neuroimaging Research at the Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center. He has pursued studies using quantitative neuroimaging funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He has served as Chair of the Neuroimaging Section and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, President of the American Society of Neuroimaging, and Associate Editor of the journal Neurotherapeutics. He has given more than 200 invited academic lectures and authored more than 190 peer-reviewed articles.

Dennis Bourdette, MD

Dr. Dennis Bourdette is the Director of the MS Center of Oregon at OHSU and the founder of the Jungers Center. Dr. Bourdette’s work has benefited thousands of people suffering from neurological disorders, especially those with multiple sclerosis. He holds a special place in his heart for those with this disease, a passion since his residency in medical school. Recently, he and his colleagues at the MS Center of Oregon have been researching a new therapy for MS that would protect nerve fibers from degeneration. For patients suffering from this debilitating disease, such a therapy would be tremendously beneficial, perhaps delaying or preventing the onset of the paralysis, memory loss, dizziness, fatigue, pain and imbalance associated with MS. Dr. Bourdette is confident that the years ahead will lead to breakthroughs in all areas of brain science. “Over the coming decade, we’re going to see tremendous advances in our ability to treat and prevent a variety of neurological diseases,” he said. “I have more hope than ever for MS patients.”

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Peter Calebresi, MD

Peter A. Calabresi, MD is a Professor of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center and the Division of Neuroimmunology and Neuroinfectious. As director of the MS Center Diseases at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Calabresi is the principal investigator on several clinical trials. He has designed and directed several clinical trials investigating combination drug therapies in MS and is on the advisory board for three national multi-center clinical trials. Dr. Calabresi also mentors trainees and also oversees translational laboratory research projects within the Division. His specific laboratory research interest lies in understanding how to more specifically target the disease causing effector memory T cells in MS without compromising healthy immune responses. Dr. Calabresi is also the recipient of a new five-year National MS Society collaborative center grant to study mechanisms to promote remyelination in MS.

Emmanuelle L. Waubant, MD, PhD

Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant is a Professor of Neurology at UCSF. She is a specialist in the treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). A native of France, she earned her medical degree at the University of Medicine in Lille, France, and completed her residency and chief residency at Toulouse University Hospital. Waubant completed fellowships in neuroimmunology at UCSF Medical Center and in clinical neuroimmunology at UCSF's Multiple Sclerosis Center. She then returned to France to head a clinical research center at the Pitie-Salpetriere University Hospital. She has joined the faculty at UCSF MS Center in 2001. Dr. Waubant is also one of the leading Neurologist in Pediatric MS.

Leslie Weiner, MD

Dr. Leslie Weiner is Chairman of the Department of neurology at USC and former Visiting Associate of Biology at California Institute of Technology. He has been involved in many areas of MS research. Newer work has been concentrated on the molecular and genetic mechanisms of degenerative disease of the nervous system. His most recent effort is in restoring tolerance to myelin antigens in human and mouse models. We are administering a USC T cell vaccine to multiple sclerosis patients and studying the induction of tolerance by gene therapy.

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Center Without Walls Junior Investigators

Lilyana Amezcua, MD

Dr. Amezcua is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the MS Comprehensive Care Center at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Dr. Amezcua is interested in how genes may be involved in poor prognosis, MS risk factors and healthcare disparities. By utilizing the genetic admixture of the Hispanic population with MS, she hopes to uncover genetic determinants that may be important in disability and in how MS patients respond to therapy.

Murugaiyan Gopalt, PhD

Dr. Gopalt is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Neurologic Diseases Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr.Murugaiyan is interested in the role of dendritic cells in the regulation of inflammatory T helper cells and anti-inflammatory T cells in patients with MS and its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).

Kevin O’Connor, PhD

Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Yale School of Medicine. His laboratory studies the immune response that occurs in autoimmune disease and cancer. While attending Tufts he studied the role of the developing immune system in autoimmune pathology. In 2000 he joined the laboratory of Dr. David Hafler at Harvard Medical School to begin his post-doctoral training. During this period he initiated a program aimed at understanding the role that B cells and autoantibodies play in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). His group helped define the autoantibody repertoire in MS and a number of inflammatory neurologic diseases. In 2007 he became an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. He and his team were among the first to characterize tertiary lymphoid tissue in germ cell tumors. They also described the molecular characteristics of plasma cells that populate the muscle tissue of patients with myositis. They refined the role of Epstein-Barr virus in the MS brain and have begun to define the role of humoral immunity in children with MS. Recently, he and his team identified a network of B cells and antibodies that populate the MS central nervous system. His current research is focused on identifying the molecular entities that initiate and sustain the autoimmune response in MS, myositis and cancer.

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MS Forum Panellists With Multiple Sclerosis

Nancy Davis

Nancy Davis, one of five children, was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. In 1987 she moved to California and now resides in Los Angeles. Nancy is an active individual with an incredible zest for life. She skis, plays tennis, has a black belt in karate, exercises, and travels - living her life to the fullest. She is an extremely dedicated philanthropist, author of Lean On Me and most importantly, she is a full-time mother who is devoted to her five children. Nancy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the young age of 33. She decided that she was too young and too busy to let the disease slow her down. After being told by doctors that she was “lucky” that she could afford live-in assistance when the disease progressed and she became homebound - she was determined to devote her time, relationships and resources to finding a cure. Nancy’s hope, courage and strength continue to inspire her to maintain a vibrant quality of life despite this chronic disease, but most of all, she remains positive, continues to live her life to the fullest and is tireless in her efforts to finding the cure for MS.

Janice Dean

Janice Dean is best known for talking about the weather but, the always bubbly Dean, who can be seen most days on the FOX News Channel has become a champion for people living with MS. She has had an extensive career in Radio and Television Broadcasting from Canada to New York. Janice is a member of the American Meteorological Society and was awarded the AMS Seal of Approval in 2009. Janice, diagnosed with MS in 2005, is married and the mother of two young sons. When she was first diagnosed she thought her life was over. To get through the initial shock, Dean began reading books by Richard Cohen, husband of Today Show host Meredith Vieira; Teri Garr and Montel Williams, all of whom have detailed their own struggles with multiple sclerosis. She believes that with a positive attitude she and others can beat this disease.

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Teri Garr

One of Hollywood's most popular players of the '70s and early '80s, Garr brought effervescence, crackerjack timing and an air of daffy neurosis to the girlfriends and working moms that she played. Garr had MS symptoms as early as 1983, when she started to trip while jogging, her case was so unusual that she wasn't diagnosed until 1999. Indefatigably upbeat, Teri, author, mother, actress and MS activist went public with her struggle in 2002, and she hasn’t looked back since. Now she’s a National Ambassador for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, a paid spokesperson for an MS medication, and a leading advocate for multiple sclerosis education and research. And while MS remains an often-baffling disease, one thing about Teri Garr is clear: Even in the face of a “speedbump” like MS, she certainly won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

Claudia Curry Hill (Moderator)

Claudia Curry Hill was diagnosed with chronic progressive MS 25 years ago. An activist for women’s health and the disabled, she is very active in founding and serving on non- profit boards, including the Nancy Davis Foundation for MS and the Colorado, Wyoming Chapter of the MS Society and is a spokesperson for Breast Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis and Bioness. Claudia is married, the mother of three and the owner of CCH Connections, a non profit and event consulting group in Colorado. She believes that exercise, a positive attitude and empowering yourself with all the information you can find will improve your quality of life until a cure is found.

Demtrius Omphroy

Demitrius Omphroy is a 22 year old California Native who made history in Major League Soccer last year after becoming the first athlete living with Multiple Sclerosis to have ever competed in the MLS. Currently residing in Los Angeles, he's become a nationwide motivational key-note speaker and is currently authoring his first book. Demitrius is living his dream and has dedicated his life to help change lives of others around the world. Slowly but surely, he is becoming the Poster Boy for the youth of the MS Community.

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David Osmond

David Osmond, musician, actor, husband and father, has music running through his veins, literally. The 4th son of Alan Osmond, oldest of the performing Osmond Brothers, David began performing as the lead singer with his own brothers when he was only four years old. Known in the early years as The Osmond Boys, David and his brothers Michael, Nathan, and Douglas were discovered by the late Bob Hope and appeared on his 1986 Christmas show in their national television debut, singing a barbershop novelty number. By the 1980s, The Osmond Boys evolved into The Osmonds: 2nd Generation, signed with both Curb Records in the U.S. and Epic/Sony in Europe, had three songs in the Top 40 in the U.K., and played to sold-out stadiums and arenas in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Forced to put music on hold for several years due to a physical battle with the West Nile Virus which in turn triggered Multiple Sclerosis, David has dedicated himself to raising awareness and resources for non-profit charities over the last several years.

William Dean Singleton

William Dean Singleton, 60, is Chairman of the Board of MediaNews Group, publisher of 61 daily newspapers and over 100 non-daily publications in twelve states. He founded the company in 1983 and in its 29th year, MediaNews is the Nation's 2nd largest newspaper company as measured by circulation and the largest privately held newspaper concern. Singleton is also Chairman and Publisher of *The Denver Post*, the company's largest newspaper; and Chairman and Publisher of *The Salt Lake* *Tribune.* He is married and the father of three children and one granddaughter. Dean was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 26 years ago when he was the editor of the *Dallas Morning News*. He served on the board of the Newspaper Association of America from 1993 until 2004, and was chairman of NAA in 2002 and 2003. He is Chairman of the Associated Press Board of Directors. In addition, he is on the boards of the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center, the National Sports Center for the Disabled, The Helen G. Bonfils Foundation, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts and the Winter Park Recreational Association.

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Clay Walker

In 1996 at the age of 26, Clay was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. The diagnosis came at a pivotal time in his life; his career in country music was exploding, he had recently finished recording his fourth album and his oldest daughter had just been born. After the first MS episode Clay worried how it would affect his career. Ultimately, Clay set his mind to doing everything he could to overcome the obstacles MS set before him. Today, Clay works to control his MS through diet, exercise and a daily injection of COPAXONE.® Clay is well-known for his high-energy concerts and performance style. Knowing that others with MS have not been so lucky led him to the decision to form Band Against MS, a not-for-profit charity organization dedicated to providing educational information for those living with MS and funding important research that may one day lead to a cure.

WebMD Medical Reference from the Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis

Sources

SOURCE: Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis.

©2010 Nancy Davis Foundation for MS. All rights reserved

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