A&W's Cruisin' for a Cause Raises $5 Million
Over 5 Years
A&W Canada and the Multiple Sclerosis
Society of Canada thank Canadians for their
August 29, 2013
VANCOUVER, BC – A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. is proud to announce its 5th annual Cruisin’ for a Cause, held last week on August 22, raised more than $1.45 million in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and its programs that benefit Canadians touched by the disease. In total, Cruisin’ for a Cause has raised more than $5 million over the past five years to help those living with MS in communities across the country.
5th annual Cruisin' for a Cause Day: On Thursday, August 22, A&W's Cruisin' for a Cause raised over $1.45 million for the MS Society of Canada – totaling $5 million over 5 years. On this day, $1 from every Teen Burger® sold across the country was donated to help end MS. Names in photo (listed left to right): During a Cruisin' for a Cause celebration in Calgary, Yves Savoie, President and CEO, MS Society of Canada, and Paul Hollands, President and CEO, A&W Food Services of Canada, were joined by the Great A&W Root Bear®, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Tyson Lefebvre, Forest Lawn A&W franchisee, and Hon. Deepak Obhrai, MP for Calgary East.
Credit: A&W Food Services of Canada Inc.
“This is a dream come true for all of us at A&W who hoped to reach this milestone in our fifth year. The ongoing enthusiasm and commitment to this very important cause has grown each and every year,” said Paul Hollands, President and CEO, A&W Food Services of Canada. “On behalf of A&W, I would like to thank and congratulate all of our customers, employees, franchisees, car clubs, the MS Society and other supporters across Canada who helped us reach this significant goal.”
During this year’s Cruisin’ for a Cause, the top three fundraising restaurants, each raising more than $20,000, are located in Alberta. Leading the pack is an A&W in Grande Prairie, which raised $24,636, followed by two locations in Fort McMurray, raising $23,074 and $22,359.
“Thank you to the A&W family for their continued commitment towards ending MS. Each year we are astonished at the support we receive through this community-driven event. It reminds us that MS affects all Canadians, and that support for people impacted by this disease is thriving across our country,” said Yves Savoie, President and CEO of the MS Society of Canada. “We are proud of our partnership with the A&W family and their tradition of giving back to the community.”
A&W restaurants across Canada helped raise funds through the sale of cut-outs, customer contributions, and donations of $1 from every Teen Burger® sold on August 22. Cruisin’ for a Cause (or le Rendez-vous A&W pour stopper la SP as it is known in Quebec) raised both funds and awareness of multiple sclerosis through a variety of events including classic car gatherings, retro music, A&W Root Beer® chugging contests, car hop service and car hop relay races, car washes, and Great A&W Root Bear® visits.
Canada has one of the highest incidence rates of multiple sclerosis in the world, making research and support for people with MS and their families critical. Multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disease of young adults in Canada and affects more than 100,000 Canadians – with women three times more likely to develop MS than men.
Cruisin’ for a Cause creates an opportunity for the many Canadians who grew up enjoying warm summer evenings at the drive-in—often with the radio blaring and trays of Teen Burgers®, fresh-made onion rings and icy cold A&W Root Beer® delivered to their car by car hops—to revisit those fond memories while supporting the MS Society of Canada.
A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. is 100 per cent Canadian owned and is one of the strongest brand names in the Canadian foodservice industry. A&W is the nation's second largest hamburger restaurant company with over 780 locations coast-to-coast. A&W Restaurants feature famous trade-marked menu items such as The Burger Family®, Chubby Chicken®, and A&W Root Beer®. For more information, please visit aw.ca.
About multiple sclerosis and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. It is the most common neurological disease of young adults in Canada. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives. The MS Society provides services to people with MS and their families and funds research to find the cause and cure for this disease. Please visit mssociety.ca or call 1-800-268-7582 to make a donation or for more information.
MS Society-funded research aims at helping repair nerves damaged by MS
September 4, 2013
Background: What do we know about repair in MS?
The majority of therapies for MS specifically target components of the immune system that are believed to cause damage to tissues in the brain and spinal cord. Although these ‘immunomodulatory’ treatments are successful in reducing myelin injury, they are unable to repair or regrow myelin that has already been stripped away from nerve cells. The absence of myelin repair can lead to further deterioration of the exposed nerve cells, which is often the first step towards progressive MS.
Two new publications add to understanding remyelination
Research into how myelin can be repaired following an attack in MS, a process termed remyelination, is gaining momentum. Two recently published MS Society-funded studies show headway in the effort to understand remyelination and the key cellular players involved.
One study comes from the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. First author Dr. Veronique Miron is a MS Society Postdoctoral Fellowship awardee whose research is focused on myelin repair. The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, reveals an association between MS and a group of cells called macrophages. Important members of the immune system, macrophages have the ability to recognize foreign invaders and signal the white blood cells to find and kill the invaders. Recent evidence suggests that macrophages may play a role in promoting inflammation which exacerbates MS disease. Interestingly, other studies demonstrate that macrophages are also capable of boosting regrowth of myelin. Dr. Miron and colleagues are trying to better understand the two-sided role of macrophages in MS.
The second study looks at remyelination from a different angle. Doctoral Studentship recipients Ryan O’Meara and John-Paul Michalski, who work under MS Society-funded senior research Dr. Rashmi Kothary at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, published an article in The Journal of Neuroscience which breaks down the mechanism of oligodendrocyte development. This information is critical to understanding the capacity for myelin repair in MS as oligodendrocytes are the cells which produce myelin. In the article, researchers identify the unique role of integrin-linked kinase (ILK), which is a protein essential for oligodendrocyte development and hence myelin production.
Study methods and results:
The study by Dr. Miron and colleagues incorporated a series of advanced animal and cell experiments allowing the researchers to observe, in detail, how macrophages influence MS disease. They discovered that macrophages can transform into a specific macrophage subtype which promotes repair of myelin. They also discovered that following loss of or damage to myelin, macrophages release a compound called activin-A, which activates production of more myelin.Also using animal and cell experiments, O’Meara and colleagues tested the role of ILK in oligodendrocyte development and ability to produce myelin. Data revealed that loss of ILK disrupts the formation of oligodendrocytes and their capacity to produce myelin around nerves. The researchers took the study one step further by determining the mechanisms that are affected by loss of ILK, thus identifying important pathways by which oligodendrocytes produce myelin.
Studies in basic science at the most detailed biological level are imperative in understanding MS. Information from such studies paves the way for the development of treatments that will stop MS in its tracks and lead to improved health. Much work has been done to date to understand the autoimmune nature of MS, but treatments that are designed to curb the effects of immune cells are only partially effective.
“Approved therapies for multiple sclerosis work by reducing the initial myelin injury – they do not promote myelin regeneration. This study could help find new drug targets to enhance myelin regeneration and help to restore lost function in patients with multiple sclerosis.” – Dr. Miron
Decoding the complex process of myelin repair can result in significant changes in the way we treat MS. First, it will help in the development of a new class of therapies designed to enhance the repair process. Such therapies would result in less disruption of communication between neurons in the brain and improved function in the body Second, therapies focused on repair will slow down or halt progression of disability, preventing individuals with MS from entering the progressive stage of the disease. Overall, these two recently published MS Society-funded studies reveal new biological components that, when targeted therapeutically, could potentially rebuild the myelin that has been lost in MS.
“In order to address the goal of remyelination, we must understand how myelination occurs in the first place. Our study has identified ILK as a mediator of myelination, and this knowledge will be useful when considering therapeutic avenues aimed at promoting remyelination.”
– Ryan O’Meara
Miron, VE et al. M2 microglia and macrophages drive oligodendrocyte differentiation during CNS remyelination. Nature Neuroscience 2013 July 21 [Epub ahead of print]
O’Meara, RW et al. Integrin-linked kinase regulates process extension in oligodendrocytes via control of actin cytoskeletal dynamics. The Journal of Neuroscience 2013; 33(23):9781-93
Copaxone only three times a week is effective for MS
August 15, 2013
Glatiramer acetate (GA), marketed as Copaxone by pharmaceutical company Teva Pharmaceuticals, is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) in Canada. Copaxone has ‘immunomodulatory’ effects, meaning it has the ability to alter the immune system which is thought to mistakenly attack myelin – the protective insulation found wrapped around nerve fibers in the central nervous system– in people with MS.
Glatiramer acetate is taken to reduce the frequency of relapses, and is also prescribed for patients who have experienced a single clinical episode and have MRI features consistent with MS (Read more about glatiramer acetate on our website).
Individuals on glatiramer acetate typically undergo once-a-day under the skin injections at a dose of 20mg per injection. Earlier this month, Teva Pharmaceuticals announced results of a study which showed that twice the standard dose of glatiramer acetate administered less frequently throughout the week is safe and can lead to beneficial outcomes in people with MS.
The GALA Study:
The Glatiramer Acetate Low-frequency Administration (GALA) study was a phase III clinical trial that assessed the efficacy (ability to produce a beneficial effect) and safety of glatiramer acetate at a dose of 40mg, administered three times per week over 12 months. This dosing schedule was selected because it equates to the total weekly dose following 20mg once a day (120mg/week).
The GALA study was conducted in 142 sites across 17 countries and involved 1,404 participants. Researchers who led the study observed number of relapses as well as disease activity seen on MRI in people with relapsing remitting MS who received glatiramer acetate treatment versus those treated with placebo (a mock drug).
What they found:
Results of the study showed that treatment with glatiramer acetate, at a dose of 40mg three times per week, led to a 34% reduction in number of relapses over 12 months compared to placebo. Researchers also reported a 44.8% decrease in disease activity observed on MRI. Moreover, taking glatiramer acetate at twice the standard dose three times a week was shown to be just as safe as the standard dose taken daily.
People living with MS face many challenges. Among these, staying on top of a rigorous treatment regimen is daunting. This study illustrates that taking glatiramer acetate, or Copaxone, at 40mg three times a week is effective in reducing MS disease, and appears to be safe and well-tolerated by the human body. This study provides promising evidence of a safe and effective alternative treatment schedule that may help to lessen the burden of glatiramer acetate injections in people with relapsing-remitting MS.
Khan O et al. Three times weekly glatiramer acetate in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Annals of Neurology 2013 June 28 [Epub ahead of print]