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Dr. Zamboni's research suggests that MS is not, as widely believed, an autoimmune condition, but a vascular disease.Alessandro Vincenzi

A Newfoundland university has started recruiting participants for a study of a controversial multiple sclerosis treatment.

Jerome Kennedy, Newfoundland's Minister of Health and Community Services, announced his final approval on Wednesday for research to be conducted by Memorial University, which will receive $320,000 in provincial funding.

The study will not allow patients to receive the so-called liberation procedure in Canada. Eight participants with MS will travel overseas at their own expense to undergo an angioplasty to open up blocked veins. Italian Paolo Zamboni suggested a year ago that MS might be caused by this blockage, or chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency.

A team of Newfoundland neurologists who specialize in MS will examine the participants before and after their treatments, along with patients who have not received angioplasties, to see if there has been any improvement.

"Multiple sclerosis patients, their friends and families are hopeful that Dr. Zamboni's procedure will be beneficial," Mr. Kennedy said. "It is our hope that this study will play a role in determining the facts about this procedure, and ultimately, if proven effective, it will provide direction as to the next steps."

Earlier this week, Dr. Zamboni called on the federal government to allow Canadians to receive the procedure at home, following the death in October of Ontario MS patient Mahir Mostic.