About the SLCMSR

Sylvia Lawry was first confronted with MS in 1945

Sylvia Lawry
when her brother Bernard was diagnosed with the disease. In the search for a successful therapy she put a classified ad in The New York Times. She received around 50 replies to this advertisement - from patients who were themselves seeking a cure. This was Sylvia Lawry´s first step in the fight for a world without MS.
She won over famous scientists to her cause and already by 1946 had founded the US National MS society and by 1967 the worldwide Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) with headquarters in London. As the umbrella organization, the MSIF coordinates the network of 42 national MS societies and the international MS research community. The MSIF is a driving force behind worldwide research not only to find effective and financially feasible therapies but also, in the final analysis, a cure for the disease. In 2001, as part of these efforts, the Federation founded the Sylvia Lawry Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research in Munich. The MSIF supports the creation and further development of new and existing MS societies in order to safeguard the care of patients on a worldwide basis. The organization promotes the worldwide exchange of all information relevant to MS. And not least, the MSIF also understands its role as that of an advocate for sufferers, in order to ensure that every patient suffering from MS receives the best available therapy.

Sylvia Lawry (1915–2001)

1967 to 1997 Secretary General MSIF


1945 Sylvia Lawry´s brother Bernard is diagnosed with MS; through a classified ad in the New York Times she seeks people who have been cured.
1946 Together with 20 scientists, Sylvia Lawry founds the world's first MS organization:
The Association for Advancement of Research in MS, forerunner of today's US National MS Society.

1967 Sylvia Lawry founds the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF), which today numbers 42 national MS societies among its members.
The Federation's priorities:
  • international research,
  • development of new and existing national MS societies,
  • exchange of information,
  • representation of the interests of affected parties.

2001 The Sylvia Lawry Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research, Munich is founded by the MSIF.
With the aid of the world's largest MS database, an interdisciplinary team of scientists starts operations to achieve a breakthrough in the treatment and cure of MS.


The Sylvia Lawry Centre is an international multiple-sclerosis research centre. It was established in February 2001 to support research into the causes of multiple sclerosis and to accelerate the development of effective therapies, by using innovative statistical methods and state-of-the art computer technology combined with medical expertise.

Sept. 1999 Idea: Ian McDonald, Henry McFarland, John Noseworthy
April 2000 Submission of full proposals
Nov. 2000 Decision following hearing of 21 experts in Washington, DC.
Feb. 2001 Contract: IMSE (Albrecht Neiß) and Trium Analysis Online (Dr. Martin Daumer, Michael Scholz) are responsible for developing and operating the Centre at the Technical University of Munich
Feb. 2002 Launch of SLCMSR Internet portal
Mar. 2002 Collection of the first data sets
Aug. 2002 Conference Call with members of the MRI Working Group: 9 experts from the USA, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Switzerland discussed the first results of the Sylvia Lawry Centre and interacted in real time with the aid of tools developed by Trium Analysis Online.
Sept. 2002 Presentation at ECTRIMS in Baltimore
Nov. 2002 42 data sets acquired (14.000 patients, 55.000 patient years) with the participation of all important pharmaceutical companies and all relevant academic research groups
Nov. 2002 Solution for storage and retrieval of MRI data
Jan. 2003 Publication in Lancet: "Competing interests in multiple sclerosis research"
Sept. 2003 Presentation at ECTRIMS in Milano
Sept. 2003 Presentations at "Gateway to Progress", International MS-Conference in Berlin. Public presentation of the project "Individual Risk Profile". Several press releases.
Sept. 2003 44 data sets acquired (19.500 patients, 75.000 patient years) with the participation of all important pharmaceutical companies and all relevant academic research groups


The Sylvia Lawry Centre is supported by an international Supervisory Board, a Scientific Advisory Committee, as well as a Multiple Sclerosis Expert Panel of renowned experts.

Supervisory Board:

  • Martin Daumer, Munich, GER
  • General Michael Dugan, Denver, USA
  • Ludwig Fahrmeir, Munich, GER
  • Lady Charlotte Fraser, London, UK
  • Karl-Heinz Hoffmann, Munich, GER
  • Ian McDonald, London, UK (Honorary Member †)
  • Irmgard Rademacher, Cologne, GER
  • Martin Schloh, Munich, GER
  • Dieter Wendelstadt (Chair), Tutzing, GER

Scientific Advisory Committee:

  • Karl-Heinz Hoffmann, TU Munich, GER
  • Casimir Kulikowski, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA
  • George Ebers, University of Oxford, UK

Multiple Sclerosis Expert Panel:

  • Wolfgang Brück, Georg-August-University, Göttingen, GER
  • George Ebers, University of Oxford, UK
  • Gilles Edan, Hopital Pontchaillou, Rennes, FR
  • Douglas Goodin, University of California, USA
  • Nils Koch-Henriksen, Danish Institute for Health Technology, Copenhagen, DK
  • Roland Martin, UKE Hamburg, GER