Milwaukee, WI – The Greater Milwaukee Foundation provided a $50,000 grant to the Medical College of Wisconsin to support research that ultimately may lead to the development of a new drug that could slow the progression of multiple sclerosis, for which there is no known cure.

The grant, awarded from the Foundation’s John and Elizabeth Boynton Fund, supports the research of Cecilia Hillard, a neuroscientist and director of the Medical College’s Neuroscience Research Center, and Bonnie Dittel, a neuroimmunologist. The doctors are researching T cells, a type of circulating immune cell not normally present in the central nervous system. When T cells enter the central nervous system, they can damage neurons, which is one of the triggers for the development of MS. Hillard and Dittel are particularly focusing on the CB2 receptors on T cells, which can influence the impact the cells have on the central nervous system. Their findings also hold potential for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

U.S. physicians are not required to report new cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and symptoms can be completely invisible, so the prevalence of the disease can only be estimated, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It estimates 2.3 million worldwide are affected by the disease. The Wisconsin Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that more than 10,000 people in Wisconsin live with MS.

About the John and Elizabeth Boynton Fund

The John and Elizabeth Boynton Fund was created in 1993 as a field of interest fund to further research into the cause and treatment of multiple sclerosis. Elizabeth Boynton established the fund in memory of her husband, John.

About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is a family of more than 1,100 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the local charitable causes of their choice. Grants from these funds serve people throughout Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. Started in 1915, the Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the world.


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