The Mycoses Study Group Education and Research Consortium (MSGERC)
In the new era of translational medicine and continuing medical education, MSGERC has emerged as a non-profit education, scientific and charitable organization to provide seamless leadership to stakeholders seeking to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure invasive fungal infections.
“We are proud of the leadership and accomplishments of the MSGERC over the past several decades. As a consortium of over 160 U.S. and international scientific medical leaders, the MSGERC offers multiple pathways to meet stakeholder needs.”
The MSGERC is a 501c non-profit organization dedicated to providing continuing medical education and scientific/medical thought leadership for evidence-based medicine in the diagnoses, prevention, treatment and maintenance of patients at risk for or afflicted with invasive fungal infections.
The MSGERC serves as a resource and support for patients and caregivers who are affected by these serious rare diseases. The MSGERC mission includes setting the annual educational and research agendas for mycology and providing top-quality continuing education initiatives to MSG-member institutions and to other institutions and practitioners throughout the United States and globally.
The MSGERC is the content development experts for this initiative and will also aid in the dissemination and outcomes research components of the endeavor. The MSGERC has successfully delivered live, web-based and enduring educational activities since 2009.
The Mycoses Study Group (MSG) was initiated as a contract through the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 1978, and awarded to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), under the direction of Principal Investigator, William E. Dismukes, M.D. to perform multicenter collaborative clinical trials for prevention and treatment of invasive fungal infections.
Subsequently, this award underwent re-competition every 5 to 6 years, and each time was re-awarded to UAB as the Coordinating Center for participating investigators until it’s final award in 2001. In 2005, NIAID elected to terminate rather than re-compete this longstanding contract, thus ending an almost 30 relationship between clinical investigators and the NIAID, effective April 2007.
MSGERC expanded as a global group of investigators, expanding from the US to 21 additional countries, including Canada, Europe, United Kingdom, Australia, South America, Countries in Africa, Central and Southeast Asia. Collectively, MSGERC continued to carry out its collective mission of studying emerging fungal pathogens, examining new approaches to the prevention and therapy of the invasive mycoses, and to expand its role into the area of fungal diagnostics in an ad hoc basis with funds from non-NIH study sponsors.
In the first decade of its existence (1978-1988), the main focus of the MSG was the therapy of relatively rare mycoses including cryptococcosis and the endemic mycoses including histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, and coccidioidomycosis.
The first randomized and controlled studies of invasive mycoses were carried out under the auspices of this group. Sentinel studies of the therapy for each of these disorders led to important insights into the therapy of these mycoses, and helped to usher in a new era of excellence in the conduct of clinical research.
Through its history of successfully conducted clinical trials, the MSG effectively “raised the bar” for all clinical trials, including mycology and non-mycology studies. In the decade of the 1990s, the MSG shifted its focus from the endemic mycoses and cryptococcosis to the treatment of candidemia, cryptococcosis in the HIV-infected patient, and empiric antifungal therapy in the persistently febrile and neutropenic patient.
During this period, the MSG conducted the first large randomized controlled trial comparing two antifungal agents for the treatment of invasive candidiasis, two major trials for the treatment of cryptococcosis in patients with AIDS, and the first large randomized trial comparing two agents for the empiric antifungal treatment of patients with persistent fever and neutropenia.
The results of these studies have had an enduring impact on the manner in which patients with these disorders are managed, and have effectively created the standard to which all other new therapeutic approaches are compared. By the end of the 1990’s the MSG had successfully conducted over 40 clinical trials in mycology, more than any NIH-sponsored study group. Furthermore, there have been over 250 publications and multiple textbooks derived from MSG-related activities.
Since its inception in 1978, the MSG has made important contributions to the study of infectious diseases, and especially to clinical mycology. These include 1) establishing clinical mycology as a discipline, 2) enhancing the performance of clinical trials, 3) training clinical investigators in mycology, 3) establishing collaborations with pharmaceutical companies that have become a model for joint industry-academia-government relationships involving clinical trials, and 5) advancing the management of invasive mycoses.
In the new era of clinical research, the MSG Education and Research Consortium will continue to champion evidence-based diagnoses, prophylaxis, treatment and management of invasive fungal infections through its tripartite mission:
Championing excellence and innovation in the development and delivery of evidence-based medical knowledge in invasive fungal disease management for patients globally.
Translational thought leadership for the development of diagnostics and medicinal antifungals for invasive fungal infections.
Scholarly work to promote antifungal stewardship, investigational outbreak tracking, implementation science, publications, and leadership.
MSGERC will work to advocate for the study and development of antifungal therapies and diagnostics, especially addressing public health issues related to diseases impacted by environmental changes and resistance. Additionally, MSGERC will provide space that includes patient advocacy so that we meet the needs of our patients worldwide.
MSGERC Board of Directors
Voting members (n=11)
John Perfect, MD (President)
Peter Pappas, MD (Immediate Past-President)
Luis Ostrosky-Zeichner, MD (President-Elect)
Dimitrios Kontoyiannis, MD (Secretary)
Marisa Miceli, MD (Treasurer)
Barbara Alexander, MD (Member at Large)
Sharon Chen, MD (Member at Large)
Oliver Cornely, MD (Member at Large)
Bart-Jan Kullberg, MD (Member at Large)
Tom Patterson, MD (Member at Large)
Joe Vazquez, MD (Member at Large)
Carolynn Thomas Jones, DNP, MSPH, RN
Tom Chiller, MD
The bylaws are available by clicking here.
The MSGERC Functions
In 2013, the Mycoses Study Group investigators formed a non-profit charitable organization named the Mycoses Study Group Education and Research Consortium (MSGERC) to continue it’s collective mission as key opinion leaders in mycology and is representative of over 160 physicians and scientists from leading national and international universities. The MSGERC was awarded 501c3 status in December 2014.The MSG Central Unit remains at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for the purpose of project management of the clinical research studies being implemented through MSG Investigators and to track clinical research activities, especially those studies designated as MSG studies. The MSGERC has emerged to scaffold support for the educational, research and scholarship functions of the group in tandem with the MSG Central Unit. In addition to Education and Research, the Scholarship of the group will embark on leadership thatchampions fungal stewardship and patient advocacy and continues to explore novel translational approaches.
Public financial statements for the MSGERC are available by clicking here.
Key distinct roles for the MSGERC and MSG Coordinating Center are highlighted in the table below:
- Champion excellence and innovation in the development and delivery of evidence-based medical knowledge in invasive fungal disease management for patients globally
- Provide opportunities for both live and enduring offerings disseminated by MSG physician faculty
- Provide a venue for collaborative sharing and thought leadership among MSG physicians, other practitioners, scientists and sponsors
- Provide leadership and engagement opportunities for junior investigators
- Provide a CME function independent of the influence of a single corporate entity
- Become an important vehicle in the training of young investigators through mentoring in clinical trials, workshops, and fellowship awards.
- Develop an international presence through the involvement of standing international steering committee members at international study sites; and global joint initiatives.
- To bring together MSG investigators, junior investigators, practitioners, scientists, pharmacists, epidemiologists and industry for thoughtful generation of research questions that will evolve into clinical investigations
- Provide thought leadership for the formation of clinical research protocols and study related documents and materials for the execution of clinical studies to include:
- new diagnostic tests for invasive mycoses, including but not limited to invasive candidiasis, aspergillosis, zygomycosis, and other invasive mould infections,
- new therapies for invasive mycoses, including but not limited to invasive candidiasis, aspergillosis, zygomycosis, and other invasive mould infections:
- Genetic, genomic studies
- Epidemiologic studies
- Comparative effectiveness studies
- Pragmatic clinical trials
- Novel clinical trial designs
- Pharmacoeconomic studies
- Facilitate the implementation of clinical studies among MSG investigators
- Assist in endpoint adjudication in preparation for DSMB reviews and final study report generation
- Serve thought leader task force committees for clinical research agenda planning, especially to newly evolving sponsor pipelines and pre-clinical scientists
- Provide a THINK TANK of mycology experts and leaders in the field
- Continue to develop treatment guidelines in partnership with IDSA
- Disseminate clinical research findings through peer review meetings and publications
- Contribute to ongoing evidence-based practice literature through book chapters, manuscripts
- Continue to develop fungal definitions to be used for diagnosis and treatment of IFIs
- Provide a venue to feature the face of fungal infection to elucidate the stories of those we treat and to provide voice to patients, caregivers and families
- Engage patient populations in the design and planning of clinical trials
- Liaison with government agencies to advocate for the support of clinical mycology in the face of antifungal resistance and important climate associated emergence.
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