Motor Neuron Disease Research Drive Underway with £50,000 Donation

According to an article from The Herald, Scottish Rugby legend Doddie Weir’s My Name’5 Doddie Foundation has contributed £50,000 towards pre-clinical development of a drug to treat motor neuron disease.

What is Motor Neuron Disease?

Motor Neuron Disease (or MND) is known more commonly in the United States as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (or ALS). MND is the name more commonly favored by nations of the British Commonwealth.

Motor neuron disease is actually more properly a group of diseases that have a degenerative effect on the body’s motor neurons. These are nerve cells that extend from the brain down to the spinal cord (upper motor neurons), and from the spinal cord to various muscle groups around the body (lower motor neurons). They transmit impulses to these various muscles, allowing us to move, breathe, and speak. Patients with MND experience a loss of motor control, and eventually all body function as their upper or lower motor neurons (or both) die off.

There is currently no known cure.

Funding Neuro Campaign Begins

Funding Neuro, a research charity in the United Kingdom, recently kicked off a drive to collect £150,000 to lay the groundwork for clinical trials of a type of therapy that has shown intriguing laboratory results.

Bristol University’s Professor Steven Gill led the research, which has shown that certain viruses can be modified to introduce therapeutic genes directly into the spinal cord. Gill has used the technique previously to treat Parkinson’s and brain tumor patients.

Before clinical trials can begin, scientists must establish what doses of the drug will be effective without risking the patient’s health. It’s this preliminary groundwork that Funding Neuro hopes to secure in the near future.

My Name’5 Doddie

Doddie Weir is a name maybe more familiar to readers from across the pond. He’s a Scottish former rugby union player, and in 2017 he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. His response was admirable, launching the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation (cleverly, the MND Foundation) to promote awareness for the disease and raise funding for research.

The MND Foundation’s £50,000 contribution to Funding Neuro’s drive is another small but important step on the long journey in treating motor neuron disease. In October, Weir announced that his foundation had raised over £1 million, an impressive sum.

Those feeling generous can contribute to Funding Neuro’s campaign here.

How should funding for potential drug trials be secured? Are grassroots fundraisers effective solutions for solving widespread funding problems in medicine? Share your thoughts with the Patient Worthy Community!

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