IN A heartfelt appeal to politicians in the run-up to next month’s general election, motor neurone disease campaigner Gordon Aikman is to launch a plan he believes will help find a cure for the disease that is killing him.
Mr Aikman will issue a “direct and personal plea” to the main party leaders to intensify their efforts to find a cure for the neurodegenerative condition and to double MND research funding.
Pointing out this is likely to be his last general election, the 30-year-old will state that “It’ll be too late for me”, but that with the “political will” a breakthrough could be made that to save the lives of this diagnosed with MND in future.
The late actor David Niven and former England football manager Don Revie are among well-known victims of the condition, which attacks the nervous system.
Mr Aikman will claim that world-class researchers in Scotland’s universities, the “unitary NHS care system” and a population size that is a “large enough sample to be globally relevant and yet small enough to be traceable” means that a cure for MND is achievable.
Mr Aikman, the former head of research for the anti-independence Better Together campaign, will issue the challenge to the main party leaders in a speech to the Edinburgh International Science Festival today.
“Scotland is the ideal place to drive both the discovery science, as well as deliver a stratified medical approach for individual patient care and ultimately better-focused clinical trials”, he is expected to say.
David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nicola Sturgeon and Nick Clegg will all be asked to sign-up to the plan to pursue a cure, including a commitment to double the number of MND specialist nurses and the development and testing of new treatments.
Mr Aikman will say: “David, Ed, Nick and Nicola – the ball is in your court. This is it. This is our chance. I won’t be here next time round.
“Half of people with MND die within 14 months of diagnosis. The odds are stacked against me. This is likely to be the last general election I will see.
“So with just weeks until we go to the polls I am making a direct and personal plea to all the party leaders. My plea is simple and is this: double MND research funding.”
Mr Aikman will suggest that Scotland can lead the way in developing a global cure for the disease, stating that “it’s time to create a world free from MND”.
He will call on political leaders to “market Scotland to the world as the go-to hub for MND clinical trials”, by encouraging drug companies and researchers to make the most of Scotland’s strong scientific sector.
A key part of Mr Aikman’s plan would see Scotland “deepen the information we gather about MND patients” to make it easier to deliver care.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS