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Six UK universities receive grant for research into motor neurone disease

The grant was given by the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health and Care Research, along with charities LifeArc, MND Association, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and MND Scotland

HCPs

Motor neurone disease (MND) experts at six UK universities have been awarded a grant of £4.25m by a group of charities and government research organisations to kick-start collaborative efforts to end MND.

The grant was awarded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), along with charities LifeArc, MND Association, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and MND Scotland.

The universities involved in the ‘MND Collaborative Partnership’ – King’s College London, University of Sheffield, University of Liverpool, University College London, University of Oxford and University of Edinburgh – will pool their expertise over three years to look at possible solutions to address problems currently hindering MND research and discover meaningful treatments.

MND (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS) is an uncommon neurodegenerative disease which affects the brain and nerves, causing weakness that gets progressively worse over time. There is no cure for MND and current treatment focuses on maintaining functional ability and managing symptoms.

The research effort will include developing better tests to measure MND progression and allow doctors to compare different drugs, as well as improving MND registers to enable doctors to collect detailed, high-quality data about the disease and understand which patients are most likely to respond to a particular drug.

Members of the partnership will also work together to support people to take part in clinical trials more easily, and develop more robust lab tests and models of disease so that scientists can test theories about MND.

A major study will also be launched as part of the research effort, involving 1,000 people with MND from across the UK to help better understand the progression of the disease and how people respond to new and existing treatments.

Professor Ammar Al-Chalabi, co-director of the research programme and professor of Neurology and Complex Disease Genetics at King’s College London and director of King’s MND Care and Research Centre, said: “Our goal is to discover meaningful MND treatments within years, not decades. This landmark funding will bring the UK’s major MND research centres together for the first time in a coordinated national effort to find a cure.

“We now have a much better understanding of MND, so we must take this opportunity to accelerate development of new treatments and work together to move this knowledge into the clinic and help people affected by this devastating disease.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

21st June 2022

From: Research, Healthcare

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