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Landmark MND trial opens in Dundee

Landmark MND trial opens in Dundee

12th August 2020

The groundbreaking motor neurone disease clinical drugs trial, MND-SMART, has today opened to participants in NHS Tayside. This is the trial’s second UK centre.

The trial will be based at the Clinical Research Centre at Ninewells hospital in Dundee and will welcome participants to the trial from across NHS Tayside.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, is a progressive condition that causes muscle to waste away.

It occurs when nerve cells called motor neurons, which send messages from the brain and spinal cord to the body’s muscles, stop working properly.

More than 1500 people are diagnosed with MND in the UK each year. There is no cure and half of people die within two years of diagnosis.

MND-SMART is a pioneering clinical drugs trial in its reach and design that launched in January this year. The trial is recruiting hundreds of people living with MND across the UK to take part in tests of potential treatments.

Unlike typical clinical drugs trials which test a single treatment at a time, MND-SMART is testing multiple drugs and so aims to speed up the time it takes to find medicines that can slow, stop, or reverse the progression of, MND.

The first trial centre opened in Edinburgh at the beginning of March at the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, part of the University of Edinburgh.

People who have already registered interest in the trial through and who live in the NHS Tayside region will be contacted by the Dundee trial team over the coming months to discuss taking part.

The trial has been developed by people with MND and clinical trial experts from across the UK. The study is led by the Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research at the University of Edinburgh.

In Scotland, the trial is being supported by NRS Neuroprogressive and Dementia, who have over a decade of experience in running clinical trials across Scotland

MND-SMART is funded by the Euan MacDonald Centre, substantial private donations, MND Scotland and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

Since the announcement of the trial’s launch in January this year, over 1000 people with MND from across the UK have registered their interest in taking part in the trial.

Dr Ian Morrison, Consultant Neurologist and Lead for Motor Neurone Disease in Tayside, said: “We have been working for some time with the organisers of MND-SMART. I am delighted that Tayside is now the second centre in the UK to recruit patients into this groundbreaking trial.

"MND is a devastating diagnosis to receive and our current treatments have only limited benefit.

"The MND-SMART trial now offers a real opportunity to assess alternative drugs which may greatly benefit people living with this condition.”

David Smith from Scone, who is living with MND said: “There is very little hope when you receive an MND diagnosis, but this new clinical trial offers some optimism. I hope the discoveries from this research will benefit people like me in years to come and bring about an improvement in quality of life.”

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