The Heaton Ellis Trust recently donated over £200,000 to the Motor Neurone Disease Association to fund cutting-edge research into causes of the disease by a team from the Basic & Clinical Neurosciences Department at King’s College London.

The Trust has a long history of providing support to the College research team led by Professor Chris Shaw and this additional funding is a reflection of their successful work to date into understanding the causes and identifying possible treatment options for people suffering from this terrible disease.

The new project is a continuation of the work done as part of the Exome sequence, an effort to analyse the DNA of 1000 MND cases and identify genetic causes. As part of this new research, the team will model the disease process, allowing them to gain a better understanding of what causes motor neurons to degenerate. The results can hopefully be used to develop powerful tools for drug discovery, giving us an opportunity to work with pharmaceutical companies to discover drugs and gene therapies that can reverse motor nerve degeneration in MND patients. This project runs in conjunction with a three-year MRC funded project and the work will be led by Dr. Han-Jou Chen.