The grant program offers young researchers the opportunity to further their training in the field of multiple sclerosis.

The European Charcot Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization for the advancement of multiple sclerosis research. More than 500 research centers and 1,500 researchers form the Foundation's collaborative base. Its main activities include conducting clinical trials and organizing symposia and courses. The European Charcot Foundation also promotes the training of young researchers under 40 years of age through clinical and research training grants. These allow beneficiaries to improve their knowledge and skills in world-renowned centers specializing in multiple sclerosis. This year, Dr. René Carvajal has received one of the program's grants.

Carvajal is a neurologist from Colombia and a predoctoral researcher at Cemcat and the Clinical Neuroimmunology group at Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR). In 2020, he received a grant from the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), which allowed him to start his research on the impact of infectious diseases on multiple sclerosis patients receiving immune suppressive treatments. "The European Charcot Foundation grant will allow me to continue this line of research, as well as my doctoral studies," declares the researcher. "It is also a recognition to my career, as it rewards researchers with excellent professional careers, which motivates me to continue working to deepen our understanding of multiple sclerosis".

In recent years, the approval and use of immune-modulating drugs has significantly improved the management of multiple sclerosis. However, some studies suggest that the immunosuppressive activity of the treatments may increase the risk of infections and affect disease progression. Thanks to the grant, Dr. René Carvajal will carry out an analysis of the Cemcat cohort of patients to establish the possible relationship between this type of therapy, the risk of infection and the implications for the course of multiple sclerosis.

"The results will help to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infections in people affected by the disease. Especially in those cases in which the treatment compromises the function of the immune system", says Dr. Xavier Montalban, director of Cemcat, Head of the Neurology Service of the Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron and of the Clinical Neuroimmunology group at VHIR and member of the Board of Directors of the European Charcot Foundation. "On behalf of the entire Cemcat staff, I congratulate Dr. Carvajal for the recognition. He will have the full support of the center to carry out a research project as necessary and relevant as his".

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