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Government announces £375 million investment in neurodegenerative conditions research

On Sunday (14th November) the government announced £375 million of investment over the next five years to fund projects to  improve our understanding and treatment of a range of neurodegenerative conditions, including Motor Neurone Disease (MND), Parkinson’s disease dementia and Lewy’s Body dementia.

The announcement comes after the success of the United to End MND campaign, led by Alliance member MND Association, in collaboration with MND Scotland and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. £50 million of the fund will be dedicated to research related to finding an MND cure.

The announcement will bring fresh hope to the 5,000 people in the UK with MND and those closest to them. The money will be targeted towards innovative projects that will help researchers better understand the disease, develop new potential treatments, and improve care and quality of life.

A new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Unit for MND will also be set up to coordinate research applications and encourage innovation in the space with a view to finding a cure.

Alongside this, a new Motor Neurone Disease partnership will be established to bring together the expertise and resources necessary to accelerate the delivery of new treatments. The partnership will be backed by £4 million from partner organisations including the NIHR, UK Research and Innovation, Life Arc, MND Association and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

Dr Brian Dickie, Director of Research Development at the MND Association, said:

“It’s taken a long time for us to get MND on the scientific agenda – for most of the 150 years since it was first recognised as a disease it wasn’t seen as a target for research. That’s changed. In the last 25 years, I’ve seen more and more people across the world interested in understanding the disease, identifying causes and discovering treatments. And in the last decade, that explosion of new knowledge has turned MND into one of the fastest moving fields of neurological disease research.

This Government funding, along with the continuing support from charities and, we hope, further investment from industry, gives us the very best springboard to turn what we know now into effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure for this devastating disease.”

Georgina Carr, CEO of The Neurological Alliance, said:

“This announcement will bring hope to so many people affected by neurodegenerative conditions and those closest to them. It is a significant investment and shows that the government understands the need for additional funding to drive much needed innovation and improvements in research.

The United To End MND campaign alongside inspirational campaigners like Rob Burrow MBE have done so much to raise awareness of MND both in government and across the country. It’s great to see this hard work pay off.

 We will be following developments and advances in this research closely, and working with the community to support translation of success in research into positive outcomes for people with neurodegenerative conditions.”

Interested researchers can find out more about the new research unit and apply for funding through the NIHR or UKRI websites.