Virtual reality (VR) allows users to step into the world of someone living with MS
TORONTO, April 30, 2018 /CNW/ - Throughout May, to mark Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, EMD Serono, Canada, a biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany, will be taking cutting-edge technology on a road show across the country to educate Canadians about the disease and its impact. Through the MS from the Inside Out virtual reality (VR) experience, EMD Serono, Canada, is facilitating a better understanding of the patient journey by breaking down barriers of the invisible aspects of the disease.
The 10-minute VR experience takes users through the brain of someone living with MS. It explores the complex science of the disease and simulates five typical visual and auditory symptoms of MS that go beyond mobility. The powerful and moving experience creates empathy and awareness for what it is like to live with the disease.
"Last year, we shared this immersive VR experience in Toronto and it received an overwhelmingly positive response," said Gaby Murphy, President and Managing Director, EMD, Serono, Canada. "We felt it was important to continue that work and bring this experience across the country so that more Canadians can experience MS from the Inside Out, and learn about the challenges faced by those living with the disease and the people around them."
VR is changing the way we understand and communicate issues around the world, and this innovation has become especially important within healthcare. Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world with an estimated 1 in 340 people living with the disease1, however many Canadians do not understand its full impact.
"It is challenging for people – even loved ones of those living with MS – to understand the disease's symptoms and the extent of its physical and emotional effects because at times, it can be invisible and unpredictable," said Dr. Mark Freedman, Professor of Neurology, University of Ottawa and Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. "Having the ability to use virtual reality to provide Canadians with this real-life experience could be instrumental in increasing empathy and awareness for this complex disease."
Leading up to World MS Day, EMD Serono, Canada's MS from the Inside Out initiative will be making multiple stops across the country. These stops include:
- Victoria: May 7 at 5 p.m. – Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St.
- Winnipeg: May 22 at 6 p.m. – The Fairmont Winnipeg, 2 Lombard Pl.
- Edmonton: May 30 at 5 p.m. – Winspear Centre, 4 Sir Winston Churchill Sq.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a degenerative auto-immune disease in which the myelin sheath around the nerves in the brain and spinal cord are inflamed and often damaged.2 It is estimated that approximately 2.3 million people have MS worldwide.3 Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world4 , with an estimated 1 in every 340 Canadians living with the disease.4 Symptoms of MS can include extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes.5 Currently there is no cure, but each day researchers are learning more about what causes MS and are zeroing in on ways to prevent it.6
About EMD Serono, Canada
EMD Serono, Canada, is the Canadian biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. EMD Serono, Canada has integrated cutting-edge science, innovative products and devices, and industry-leading patient support and access programs. EMD Serono, Canada has deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as a robust pipeline of potential therapies in neurology, oncology, immunology and immuno-oncology. Today, EMD Serono, Canada has more than 100 employees across Canada with headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario.
About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, Millipore Sigma and EMD Performance Materials.
1 MS Society of Canada. What is MS. Accessed April 4, 2018. Available at https://mssociety.ca/about-ms/what-is-ms
3 National MS Society. What is MS - FAQs. Accessed April 4, 2018. Available at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/MS-FAQ-s.
4 MS Society of Canada. What is MS. Accessed April 4, 2018. Available at https://mssociety.ca/about-ms/what-is-ms.
5 MS Society of Canada. Symptoms. Accessed April 4, 2018. Available at https://mssociety.ca/about-ms/symptoms.
6 MS Society of Canada. What is MS. Accessed April 4, 2018. Available at https://mssociety.ca/about-ms/what-is-ms.
SOURCE EMD Serono, Canada
For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact: Allison Goodman, Senior Manager, Integrated Media, 604-283-1365, [email protected]; Hibaq Ali, Manager, Integrated Media, 416-642-7915, [email protected]