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Living with MS: the innovators working on ways to help millions battle MS

The World vs.MS (TWvsMS) has been running since April and now enters its final phase. The initiative is designed to understand the daily challenges of living with MS, and help nurture ideas to solve them.

On November 24, the judging panel re-grouped after a summer hiatus to undertake the tough task of whittling down 40 long-listed solutions to problems faced by MS patients to three.

Stage one of the campaign was a springtime call to action for people living with the disease to submit their everyday challenges – everything from difficulty gripping door handles, to getting around. The second phase was for the judging panel to select which three of these problems could be successfully addressed with a product, and the third – over summer – was an outreach to innovators around the world to submit their solutions to those problems.

The 40 solutions were designed to address one of the three challenges: the difficulty MS patients have with bladder control and finding a public toilet when the need strikes; issues with mobility, largely around balance and walking; and the heat regulation problems that are associated with the disease, including overheating or chills on certain areas of the body.

As advocacy and research officer of MS Ireland, Harriet Doig brings to the panel experience working with MS patients. Suzanna van Straaten, commercial director MS Europe at Sanofi Genzyme represented the organisation running the campaign, and has huge experience with getting treatments to market. While Jeremy Ambrose, excellence engineer at Entrepreneurial Spark, and WIRED’s commercial editor Dan Smith add input on what makes a successful startup – and how best to nurture them.

The solutions included specialist all-terrain shoes, physiotherapy aids, wearable physiotherapy tech, smart underwear and mobile apps. After an afternoon of scrutinising the submissions – and their lengthy accompanying paperwork – the panel selected three finalists that will be presented to the MS community to vote on which should be put forward for supported development.

The three solutions chosen by the panel will soon be released. Whichever gains the public vote will be incubated by Entrepreneurial Spark in its annual February intake. There, they will work everything from how to pitch for funding to building the first prototypes and getting to market. The goal is to turn the idea into a reality and help change the lives of millions living with MS.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by WIRED
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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