Scientist wins £50k grant to study muscular atrophy

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A scientist at the University of Edinburgh has been awarded a £50,000 grant to research spinal muscular atrophy.

Professor Thomas Gillingwater has been awarded the money by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. It will fund the first year of a three-year project looking at the underlying cause of the condition, which affects around 3000 people in the UK.

In the most severe cases, children with the condition live for only a few years, as the muscles that control their breathing fail.

Prof Gillingwater said: “This generous financial support from the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign will play a critical role in allowing us to identify new therapeutic targets and strategies for patients with spinal muscular atrophy.

“The complex series of events that lead to this devastating condition remain to be fully explained, and this project will allow us to directly test whether glial cells are key contributors to the disease process.”