A new charity campaign led by a rugby legend has been launched to help find a cure for motor neurone disease.
The Funding Neuro campaign is part of a new initiative from the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, a charity set up last year by international rugby player Doddie Weir.
Mr Weir was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in June 2017, a condition which progressively damages parts of the nervous system.
There is currently no cure and the only treatments available help relieve symptoms and slow down the condition’s progression.
But the charity now hopes to raise some £150,000 needed to fund a pre-clinical stage of therapy for the disease. The new treatment includes delivering viral and gene therapy directly into the brain to restore the function of the nervous system.
Announcing the campaign, Mr Weir said he is pleased to be supporting such an innovative programme.
“Success has been shown in the lab using gene therapy to combat the disease, however, to date this has not been translated successfully into a patient,” he said.
“We hope that by combining gene therapy with a delivery system that is able to get the therapy to where it can be effective will provide real hope for people with the condition.”
Leading the trial, Professor Steven Gill said: “The standard treatments that are currently available for motor neurone disease may enhance a patient’s quality of life but there is yet to be a therapy to combat the disease.
“Backed by Funding Neuro, our project has the potential to offer a fast-track approach to a neuroprotective and regenerative treatment for the disease.
“By bringing together experts in neurosurgery, gene therapy, medical engineering and biotech pharma we have developed the technology and know-how to successfully deliver gene therapies to the central nervous system.
“We are now in a unique position to rapidly translate these promising lab results to clinical trials to protect and repair motor neurones.”
For more information about the campaign, please click here.