Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A £210,000 donation from the Alan Davidson Foundation (ADF) has been made to the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (NDCN) to advance the University’s world leading research into Motor Neurone Disease (MND). The funding will support a project manager for three years to deliver an innovative research project using the genetic causes of MND to develop approaches to early diagnosis and eventually, prevention of all forms of MND.

Alan Davidson with a dog and an inspirational letter he had written
Alan Davidson - ‘Envisioner of Dreams’ who believed that innovation and investment in science is the key to advancing MND treatment

MND symptoms develop insidiously and the early stages can be similar to other conditions, which means that diagnosis can sometimes take a year or more. As a result, damage to the nervous system can go undetected before physical symptoms become apparent. Professor Talbot and his research group work as part of the Oxford Motor Neurone Disease Centre, linking the research to clinical care.

The team has already established promising approaches to treatment in patients who currently have the disease. The aim of this new ground-breaking research is to identify people at risk of MND before symptoms occur, so that treatment can be applied at the early stages when it can be more effective and disability can be prevented.

About 10% of patients with MND have a genetic mutation and each of their close relatives (parents, siblings and children) will have a 50% chance of carrying the gene that leads to MND. The research funded by ADF will sign up 300 – 400 ‘at risk’ individuals, who will be carefully monitored to enable the team to pick up the very earliest signals of the disease. The ultimate aim is to produce a blood test that could be used in general practice to screen for the silent damage occurring in the early phase of MND. A cohort study of this kind, linking in with the established MND network, will be unique, and once the cohort is in place, major research funding will also be sought to analyse the samples donated by people taking part in the study.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford Development Office website. 

Similar stories

Oxford spinout trials revolutionary bioelectronic implant to treat incontinence

The first participants in a clinical trial of a bioelectrical therapy to treat incontinence have received their “smart” bioelectronic implants.

COVID-19 is a leading cause of death in children and young people in the US

A new study led by researchers at the University of Oxford’s Department of Computer Science has found that, between 2021 and 2022, COVID-19 was a leading cause of death in children and young people in the United States, ranking eighth overall. The results demonstrate that pharmaceutical and public health interventions should continue to be applied to limit the spread of the coronavirus and protect again severe disease in this age group.

Three or more concussions linked with worse brain function in later life

Experiencing three or more concussions is linked with worsened brain function in later life, according to new research.

New blood test could save lives of heart attack victims

Researchers in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) have developed a blood test that measures stress hormone levels after heart attacks. The test – costing just £10 – could ensure patients receive timely life-saving treatment.

COVID-19 increased public trust in science, new survey shows

A survey of over 2000 British adults has found that public trust in science, particularly genetics, increased significantly during the pandemic. However, those with extremely negative attitudes towards science tend to have high self-belief in their own understanding despite low textbook knowledge.

Gero Miesenböck awarded 2023 Japan Prize

Congratulations to Professor Gero Miesenböck, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG), who has been awarded the 2023 Japan Prize in the field of Life Sciences, together with Professor Karl Deisseroth, for pioneering work in the field of optogenetics.