Scottish universities to lead MS and MND research

scientist in protective suit looking at pills Image copyright Thinkstock

Scottish universities are to lead research into the debilitating neurological conditions multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease.

Sixteen research programmes have been announced to tackle the two conditions.

MND is a rare condition affecting the nervous system, while MS causes the immune system to attack the lining of nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

Training will be led by the University of Edinburgh, with involvement from Glasgow, Dundee and St Andrews.

Three Phds into motor neurone disease and three which will research multiple sclerosis will be led by the University of Edinburgh.

'Finding a cure'

The universities involved will also provide an additional six studentships into the conditions, which affect more than 11,000 Scots.

Additional funding will be provided by the Scottish government for two Phds at the University of the West of Scotland, while the university has pledged to fund a further two into MS.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption MS causes the body's own immune system to attack the lining of nerves in the brain and spinal cord

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "The exciting new Phd programme being hosted by the University of Edinburgh exceeds the plans we set out in our programme for government.

"This programme offers a unique opportunity to develop an integrated national Phd training programme recognising the shared underlying biological mechanisms in MND and MS.

"Once again, Scotland is leading the way in clinical research and innovation."

'Exciting time'

MND Scotland chief executive Craig Stockton said the investment was "extremely welcome".

He added: "By attracting and developing outstanding young clinicians and scientists into the MND field we hope to build MND research capacity within Scotland and create the future scientific leaders in the field.

"The more research we can undertake into MND the quicker we will find the cause, the better our care will be and ultimately, the closer we will get to finding a cure."

Morna Simpkins, director of MS Society Scotland, said the new Phd funding would help develop a better understanding of the neurological condition that affects many Scots.

"MS is an unpredictable condition that can affect the way we feel, think and see", she said.

"It is a really exciting time for research into MS and the MS Society is delighted to see that Scotland will remain an essential part of the global network coming together to tackle MS."

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