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£375m to be invested in neurodegenerative disease research

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The UK government will invest £375m over the next five years to develop research that could help  people with neurodegenerative diseases live longer, healthier lives.

The £375m investment will fund projects into a range of diseases such as Pick’s Disease, Fronto-temporal dementia  and wernicke-korsakoff.

As well as Parkinson’s disease dementia, Lewy Body dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment, improving our understanding while searching for new treatments.

UK health bosses said £50m will be made available specifically for research to help find a cure for MND, a condition that affects the brain and nerves and affects 5,000 people in the UK.

There is currently only one drug licensed in the UK to treat MND, Riluzole, which slows the progression of the disease and extends someone’s life by a few months. The funding announced today will accelerate progress across the UK to find better treatments for MND, and give people living with the condition the chance of a better quality of life, and more good years with their loved ones.

New, innovative projects will help researchers to better understand the disease and its related conditions, develop and test treatments and improve care for those living with MND.

For MND, a new NIHR research unit will be set up to co-ordinate research applications for the new funding, encouraging more innovative studies with the ultimate goal of finding a cure.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “Neurodegenerative conditions like MND can have a devastating impact on people’s lives and I’m committed to ensuring the government does everything we can to fight these diseases and support those affected.

“We’ve already invested millions in understanding and treating MND and our new funding commitment will back more research into this and other neurodegenerative diseases.

“The UK is a global leader in medical research. Our world-class research sector was central to the discovery of lifesaving treatments for COVID-19 like dexamethasone and tocilizumab, as well as the development of the vaccine programme which has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

“We will continue to harness this expertise and innovation to support pioneering projects to find better treatments for those living with motor neurone disease, like the excellent work underway at NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre where scientists are trialling new drugs to treat the condition.”

The NIHR has committed to ongoing research into MND, reinforced by issuing a Highlight Notice inviting applications from ambitious research projects to take potential treatments from the lab to the clinic, as part of scaled-up efforts to significantly improve the care and support available.

As well as the funding for research into neurodegenerative diseases, a new MND partnership will be formed to pool expertise and resources across the research community to accelerate the delivery of new treatments. The partnership, backed by £4 million, is co-funded by:

  • the NIHR
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Life Arc
  • MND Association
  • My Name’5 Doddie Foundation

Researchers can apply for funding via the NIHR and UKRI websites.

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