Results from the UK clinical trial of diaphragm pacing in MND/ALS (known as DiPALS) were published online today in the journal Lancet Neurology.
DiPALS was the first randomised clinical trial of diaphragm pacing in MND and aimed to find out whether or not diaphragm pacing was beneficial when added to the current standard treatment of non-invasive ventilation (NIV), compared to NIV treatment alone.
The trial results unfortunately show that diaphragm pacing was not beneficial when used in addition to NIV, and was in fact harmful, with people using diaphragm pacing living on average 11 months shorter than those on NIV alone.
At present there is no diagnostic test for MND, and diagnosis is usually determined through clinical observations and by excluding other diseases. Because of this, a definitive diagnosis of MND can take up to several months.
By developing an effective diagnostic test for MND, we will be able to diagnose MND earlier and put in place effective care and support needs sooner. Another benefit to earlier diagnosis would mean that people living with MND can be started on riluzole much earlier. Continue reading →
The MND Association is backing a new clinical trial in MND, known as MIROCALS. This will be a joint clinical trial between France and the UK that will aim to dampen the overactive immune system by increasing the amount of interleukin-2.
It is important to stress that planning for this MND clinical trial has only just started and the next step is to lay the essential groundwork and perform some short-term pilot studies. The main trial is likely to begin recruiting participants in autumn 2016.
Reporting back from the event in Dublin, Dr Scaber summarised the TDP-43 session, including his presentation on recent developments in his own Association-funded research:
The fifth session of the ENCALS meeting focussed on a protein called TDP-43: This is the protein that accumulates in the brains of people living with MND and has been tightly linked to the development of the disease. Abnormal forms of this protein can be found in 98% of cases and this session had some very interesting basic science discoveries around this topic. Continue reading →
MND Association-funded researchers, Prof Dame Kay Davies and Dr Peter Oliver, both based at the University of Oxford, have identified the oxidation resistance 1 (OXR1) gene as a neuroprotective factor in MND.
Published in the journal Brain on 9 March 2015, Prof Davies has shown through their recent research in mice that OXR1 may serve a new target for future drug development.
Under the leadership of Dr Christopher McDermott, based at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), research published today on 29 May 2015 in the Lancet Neurology highlights that better weight management in MND is key to survival.
Following on from initial results presented at the 25th International Symposium on ALS/MND in December 2014, the Prospective Gastrostomy (ProGas) study in MND aimed to investigate the optimal timing for gastrostomy in MND due to the lack of evidence available.
Dr Chris McDermott (Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Sheffield)
We are pleased to announce that as well as applications for our next round for PhD Studentship applications, we are also accepting applications for our brand newNon-Clinical Fellowship scheme. These fellowships are aimed at early career researchers across a range of disciplines, allowing them to take the reins of their very own research project. Continue reading →
Professor Winston Hide gave his inaugural lecture on 17 March, during Brain Awareness week, entitled ‘breaking the human genome code – opening Pandora’s box’, which you can watch in full at the end of this blog post.
Professor Hide recently joined the University of Sheffield, and MND Association/ Medical Research Council (MRC) Lady Edith Wolfson Clinical Research Fellow, Dr Johnathan Cooper-Knock has written a blog below about Professor Hide’s research and how they are working together towards a world free from MND: Continue reading →
Today’s announcement of the difference the ALS / MND ice bucket challenge has made included a number of areas of research investment. You’ll be hearing much more about these as our plans develop, but here are three examples to give you a flavour of things to come.
Association-funded PhD student, Helena Chaytow (Royal Holloway, University of London), is using DNA to develop a targeted treatment for MND. Now entering her final year, we report on what she’s achieved so far and her future plans.
Helena’s research is looking at the chemical messenger ‘glutamate’. Glutamate is released by motor neurones in order to stimulate a nerve impulse from one motor neurone to the other, which is how the instruction to move our muscles travels from our brain to our limbs.
In order to pass the message on, glutamate needs to bind to the second nerve cell, and it does this by acting like a ‘lock and key’. Continue reading →