A motor neurone disease clinical drug trial will take place in Scotland for the first time in more than twenty years. This study is the first step in a broader plan by the charity MND Scotland to commit more than £1.5 million (almost $2 million USD) to a ‘time for trials’ fund that will be used to support MND clinical trials in Scotland. You can read the original article here, at MND Scotland’s website.
About Motor Neurone Disease (MND)
MND is the term used to refer to a group of progressive diseases that all affect a type of nerve called motor neurones. Motor neurones play an important role in relaying information between the brain and muscles, but MND prevents this from happening. Due to this, MND is characterised by muscle weakness. The illness often develops gradually, but as it progresses people may lose the ability to perform certain tasks unaided, such as talking, eating, and breathing. In some cases, people may also experience changes to their thoughts and behaviour. There are several forms of MND, of which amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common. You can read more about this disease on MND Scotland’s website here.
The Upcoming MND Trial
The planned MND clinical trial in Scotland, the first of its kind to take place there in over twenty years, is called MIROCALS. Researchers are planning to investigate a therapy called Interleukin-2 as a possible new therapy for ALS. Interleukin-2 is currently used as a treatment for some forms of cancer and may be linked to certain immune cells found in the blood that are thought to be involved in protecting motor neurones.
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has praised the trial, saying that she hopes it will be a “major step” towards finding a cure for MND.
The MIROCALS trial is one element of a wider plan by MND Scotland to increase the number of MND trials in Scotland. Dr Gorrie, who is leading the Scottish branch of the MIROCALS trial, says that supporting Scottish patients to participate in research like this “is key to advancing the development of effective treatments against this terrible disease.” In total, over £1.5 million has been committed by the charity to help fund MND clinical trials in Scotland.