£4.25 million grant for UK-wide effort to end motor neuron disease
The devastating neurodegenerative disease affects the brain and spinal cord
A group of charities and government research organisations have awarded £4.25 million in the form of a research grant, to enable motor neuron disease (MND) experts at six UK universities to begin a collaboration to end MND.
The ‘MND Collaborative Partnership’ will work together to find solutions addressing the problems that currently stand in the way of contemporary MND research.
“Our goal is to discover meaningful MND treatments within years, not decades,” said Professor Ammar Al-Chalabi, co-director of the research programme, Professor of Neurology and Complex Disease Genetics at King’s College London, and Director of King’s MND Care and Research Centre. “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.”
MND is also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and is a devastating neurodegenerative disease, affecting the brain and spinal cord. Those living with ALS progressively lose nearly all voluntary movement, and require complex care. Around half of people diagnosed with the condition die within two years.
Six people are diagnosed with MND every day in the UK, and the condition affects around 330,000 across the world. One in every 300 will develop MND. Members of the UK-wide MND research partnership will work together and pool their expertise over three years.
This effort will include developing better tests to measure MND progression, also allowing doctors to compare different drugs, support people to take part in clinical trials more easily, and to develop more robust lab tests and models of disease, to enable scientists to test theories about the disease, and a pipeline of potential therapeutic agents that could ultimately be used as MND treatments.
Currently, the only licensed drug for MND in the UK has a modest effect on extending life. However, no treatments are currently available that can substantially modify disease or cure the condition.