Inspired by viruses

I attended a fantastic talk this morning in the session on ‘Translational Strategies’. This session is all about moving laboratory ideas for new treatments for MND into the clinic to test them in clinical trials.

The first talk was given by Battaglia, based at the University of Sheffield. In this presentation, he described a multidisciplinary project to develop synthetic ‘nanoparticles’ which could be used to deliver future therapies to the brain and spinal cord – and even eventually into motor neurones and support cells. This project really does take collaboration to a new level by combining the expertise of physicists, chemists and biologists and taking inspiration from the ways in which viruses have evolved to get into our cells.

In the second presentation, we heard how a small company in California (iPierian) are taking cells from patients with ALS and developing them into stem cell-like cells called ‘induced pleuripotent stem cells and then turning them into motor neurones. Their next aim is to test new compounds on these cells to test for their effectiveness in a human cellular model of MND in the hunt for new and better treatments for MND.

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