Landmark Glasgow Motor Neurone Disease trial begins


A ground-breaking clinical trial for motor neurone disease has started at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.


Multiple drugs are being tested at the same time by the pioneering MND-SMART trial, rather than a single treatment at a time, as part of efforts to speed up the time it takes to find medicines that can slow, stop, or reverse the progression of MND.


Participants are being brought in from across the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, which cares for the largest number of people living with MND.


Also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, MND is a progressive condition that causes muscles to waste away as nerve cells called motor neurons, that send messages from the brain and spinal cord to the body’s muscles, stop working properly.


More than 1,500 people are diagnosed with MND in the UK each year. There is no cure and half of people die within two years of diagnosis.


Dr George Gorrie, Consultant Neurologist and Lead for Motor Neurone Disease Greater Glasgow and Clyde said:


“The MND-SMART trial launching in Glasgow is some good news at a time when there isn’t much around.


“Ensuring the safety of people taking part in MND-SMART is the research team’s highest priority and we will follow all government requirements relating to covid-19 and research.


“The pandemic and ensuring practices are covid-19 compliant will impact how quickly people can be recruited to the trial but we are delighted to be able to start seeing participants.”


Earlier this month the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry called for non-covid research to restart urgently amid fears the pace of recovery from lockdown was too slow.


by Sarah Nimmo


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