Our Research Strategy has recently been revised and can be downloaded from our website: http://www.mndassociation.org/document.rm?id=751.
Although it can seem that MND research moves at ‘glacial’ speed, the fact that we have had to update the strategy to take into account new gene discoveries, new laboratory models of MND, advances in stem cell technology and the upsurge in research activity around the world, all serve as reminders that scientists and clinicians are continuously chipping away at the disease and probing for a weakness that can be turned into a potential treatment.
There is no getting away from the fact that MND is a complex disease: the causes are complex, the biochemical pathways underpinning motor neuron degeneration are complex and the treatment approaches are likely to be complex. But if we can continue to put the right building blocks in place – to understand the causes; develop laboratory models that truly represent the human disease; improve diagnosis and measuring disease progression; ensure consistent high quality care; attract the best researchers to work on MND and encourage greater international collaboration – the challenge will be that much easier.
At the Association’s International Symposium, a few years ago, Prof Bob Brown (a senior ALS neurologist from the USA) commented: “There’s a ‘sea change’ coming in MND research.” We still have a voyage to make, but perhaps we are just beginning to feel the breeze in the sails…?