A programme to quicken the pace of research into Motor Neuron Disease has been launched today by Dementias Platform UK which is managing the project following an investment of £6 million from the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).
The MND Accelerator programme will make it easier to translate discoveries into therapies and treatments. It is part of the government’s £50 million commitment to research and support for Motor Neuron Disease.
Professor John Gallacher, Director of DPUK said:
“The MND Accelerator is a major opportunity to advance the pace of research. The idea is to use our existing experience and infrastructure to provide a flexible and responsive environment for innovative MND research; to speed-up the process of translating discoveries into treatments.”
Resources to increase the speed of translation from discovery to trials already exist in dementia research. The MND Accelerator is using this proven infrastructure including its administration, governance, technologies and science resources, to apply to MND and Fronto-Temporal Dementia (FTD) research. The aim is to advance the pace of translating MND research into trials.
The quicker pace of research will be achieved through the rapid evaluation of proposals, access to technology, expertise, know-how and resources, streamlined contracting and end-to-end data management. Some additional facilities for the Accelerator are being provided by the UK Dementia Research Institute.
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:
“Motor neurone disease has a devastating impact on people’s lives. That is why I am cutting red tape to accelerate funding for cutting-edge research by leading scientists into finding a cure.
“This collaboration will help identify new potential treatments for MND – backed by £6 million of government investment as part our pledged £50 million funding for MND research to help find a cure.
“I encourage researchers from a range of disciplines to join the scheme and harness the world leading facilities available at Dementias Platform UK and UK Dementia Research Institute.”
The MND Accelerator will foster cross-sector engagement and collaboration between academic and industry researchers at a pre-competitive stage. It will address commonly shared goals in the wider research and patients’ communities. So, participants could be academic-industrial partnerships undertaking work in the Accelerator’s trusted research environment guided by patient and family viewpoints.
Motor Neuron Disease is a life shortening disease affecting 1 in 300 people. There is no known cure.
Speaking about the launch, Robin Buckle, Chief Science Officer at the Medical Research Council said:
“MRC’s vision is to accelerate improvements in human health and wellbeing for everyone, regardless of background, place or upbringing, by supporting world-class biomedical research and innovation.
he MND Accelerator will enhance this through bringing together the best researchers with cutting edge infrastructural support to target a critical bottleneck in the development of new treatments to improve care for those diagnosed with the devastating condition of Motor Neurone Disease.”
The programme will be open to all researchers to apply for funding. The winning proposals will be expected to complete their work within 18 months. It is expected there will be between 6 and 12 awards invited to join the MND Accelerator.
The MND Accelerator will be open to applications in October 2023.