Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) is a debilitating, life-shortening, degenerative neuromuscular rare disorder, with onset during childhood. Despite high levels of existing medical research around FA, significant further progress is needed to advance new treatments.
The Oxford-Harrington Rare Disease Centre (OHC) has the expertise and capability to contribute to the major effort underway aimed at developing effective treatments for FA in the near future. The OHC combines the University of Oxford and the Harrington Discovery Institute's world-leading strengths in research and therapeutics development. The OHC was formed to set the science and innovation agenda, driving cutting-edge rare disease breakthroughs to address the unmet need in rare disease across the globe and to deliver major clinical impact for patients. Friedreich’s Ataxia is a compelling initial focus area given this goal.
The OHC has adopted FA as a priority area within its neurological disorders theme. Ultimately, the OHC hopes to participate meaningfully in developing a therapy to treat or potentially cure FA through coordinated research efforts, leveraging the full strengths of the University of Oxford and the Harrington Discovery Institute, and externally with leading institutions across the world to focus efforts on therapeutic interventions with immediate potential.
OHC will be building on the long history of important contributions to the FA field by Oxford researchers. As a first step in this new journey, with the support of EndFA, a philanthropic partner focused on FA, the OHC has recruited a new Research Facilitator in Friedreich’s Ataxia. Dr Geoffrey Denwood joined the OHC at the University of Oxford site in April 2021, and will dedicate his time and expertise into coordinating the activities of the OHC in FA. Dr Denwood will evaluate the current status of FA translational research and therapeutics development locally and globally, then work to fund and implement an OHC programme harnessing the best expertise and most promising therapeutic opportunities.
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