The Bibbi and Nils Jensen Foundation
The Bibbi and Nils Jensen Foundation’s generous, multiannual support of MS research at Karolinska Institutet has enabled several important breakthroughs that have advanced the understanding of the disease and that could one day lead to better prevention and more selective treatments.
For example, combined studies of lifestyle/environmental factors and susceptibility genes have shown that smoking increases the risk of MS by about 60%, dramatically more so in the presence of a genetic predisposition – up to 2,000%. Another important discovery is that insufficient levels of vitamin D or exposure to sunlight can double the risk of developing MS. The large volume of material that has been gathered with the foundation’s support has been essential to Karolinska Institutet’s participation in international consortia for MS genetics, in which some 50 susceptibility genes have been incontestably identified.
A separate grant from the foundation in 2010 funded the establishment of the world’s largest MS biobank, a unique research platform that enables the large-scale study of the influence of environmental and genetic factors along with the effects and side-effects of new therapies. All this now provides a foundation for further, world-leading research in the use of therapeutic intervention in the central pathogenetic pathways that lead to MS. The research is led by neurology professors Tomas Olsson and Jan Hillert.