Oxford Motor Neuron Disease Centre
- Research: 01865 857834; Clinic: 01865 231893
Motor neurons are cells which initiate and control voluntary movement. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the commonest form of motor neuron disease (MND) and the third commonest form of neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, is currently incurable. We now know that it arises for a complex set of reasons, including harmful genetic variants and environmental factors.
Our research focuses on the early stages of the disease when we believe there is the most chance of applying effective treatments. In work led by Professor Talbot, we have created models of ALS, investigating the effect of human genetic mutations in mice and in motor neurons derived from stem cells grown from the skin of patients with ALS. In a complementary initiative, Professor Turner’s ‘BioMOx’ Programme is studying patients with advanced MRI scanning and biochemical monitoring (proteins in the blood and spinal fluid) to derive ‘biomarkers’.
Having established some promising approaches in patients with established disease, we are now developing ways of applying these techniques to people who carry genetic risk factors but who may be some years from developing the disease. Our ultimate aim is to identify the earliest changes which occur in the disease and apply protective therapies before the onset of significant disability in those at risk and those already living with ALS.
Anyone who either knows someone or works with patients with MND can understand the urgency of finding out more about the disease. The study is very organised and well explained with friendly, professional staff who were very thorough and patient. It was a pleasure to take part.An Oxford research volunteer
The foundation of our approach is that excellence in research comes from excellence in care. We are one of the major centres for international as well as UK ALS therapeutic trials. All patients attending the Oxford Motor Neuron Disease Clinic are also given the opportunity to engage in other vital research, through participation in genetic and biomarker studies.
The ACORN study will identify and characterise patients and asymptomatic family members who carry the C9orf72 gene mutation, and create a national register of this cohort, facilitating further research and study participation.
TRAINING AND EVENTS
Families for the Treatment of Hereditary MND (FaTHoM)
For information on FaTHoM, including information on upcoming meetings, please click here.
SUPPORT THE OXFORD MND CENTRE
Research at the Oxford MND Centre requires significant resources. While much of our work is funded through grants obtained in open competition from the Medical Research Council, the MND Association and other bodies, we have benefitted greatly from specific charitable donations for research.
Small or large donations make a significant impact into our research by allowing us to develop new projects to the point where they can be competitive for more substantial funding. If you would like to make a donation to MND research in Oxford please visit the University of Oxford Development Office donation page
ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
One of our clinical research fellows, Dr Jakub Scaber, discusses how funds raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge have made a difference in our research.