When I started my job at the Association just four years ago we were funding 19 research projects and studentships. Researchers were using animal models based on the one major disease-causing gene that had been discovered to try and learn more about the mechanisms underlying all types of MND, which I thought was all pretty clever and promising.
Today, the Association is funding 45 projects including Clinical Research Fellowships that will help develop the careers of the very best young clinician scientists. A flurry of recent gene discoveries has provided researchers with significant clues and opened up completely new avenues of investigation, whilst stem cells have become a realistic tool for enabling scientists to study living human motor neurones in the lab. That’s a lot of progress in four years. Research always moves forward.
It gets cleverer and more promising all the time – that’s why I’m optimistic.
Follow our incurable optimism campaign