The university conducts research and will begin pre-clinical testing on a drug to check its ability to protect nerve cells from degeneration that happens in motor neuron disease, after securing AUD 995,395 in funding.
“There has been a lot of work to look at ways of protecting the nerve cells themselves, but if they still can’t signal to each other and the rest of the body, then they still can’t function,” Project Lead and Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre Associate Professor, Anna King said.
“It’s vital to understand the mechanisms by which these signalling connections are lost, as the clinical symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases appear when these connections are broken.
Our research has identified a change to a specific structural protein, which may help drive the destruction of these nerve cell processes. We can prevent this change using a drug and we have shown in cell models that this can protect the nerve cell processes. The FightMND funding will now enable us to further develop this drug and test if it is worth taking forward for clinical trials as a potential treatment for motor neuron disease,” King added.