‘…the availability of this research funding, alongside the work of our strong life science and pharmaceutical sector will make the most of that research to help those living with motor neurone disease.’
The UK Government is providing funding of £375 million, over the next five years, to improve understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Research into motor neurone disease will receive £50 million of the available funds, with a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Motor Neurone Disease Research Unit being set up to attract novel research applications.
The Government has said the motor neurone disease affects 5000 people in the UK, and there is currently one drug licensed in the country which slows disease progression, extending an individual’s life by a few months. The new funding will speed up the progress toward finding better treatments and improve the quality of life for those with motor neurone disease. Other diseases benefiting from the new investment include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal dementia.
The NIHR has issued a so called ‘Highlight Notice,’ inviting applications from ‘ambitious research projects to take potential treatments [for motor neurone disease] from the lab to the clinic.’ The NIHR has also awarded a Research Professorship to Professor Chris McDermott, a leading researcher in motor neurone disease. The award will focus on improving care for people with the disease, strengthening leadership in research and designing clinical trials to allow more people to participate.
The Government added that a new motor neurone disease partnership will be established to pool expertise and resources across the research community to speed up the delivery of new treatments. This partnership will be backed by £4 million and will be co-funded by several parties including NIHR, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Life Arc. Researchers can apply for funding through NIHR and UKRI.
UK Government Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: ‘The UK is home to some of the most transformative and innovative research in the world, and the availability of this research funding, alongside the work of our strong life science and pharmaceutical sector, will make the most of that research to help those living with motor neurone disease.’