Stem cellular hope in fight against MND

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A DISCOVERY by city researchers could speed up a breakthrough in treatment for motor neurone disease (MND).

An international team led by Edinburgh University’s Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research has created motor neurones using skin cells from a patient with an inherited form of the disease.

They found that abnormalities of a protein called TDP-43, which is implicated in more than 90 per cent of cases of MND, resulted in the death of motor neurone cells.

It is the first time that scientists have been able to see the direct effect of abnormal TDP-43 on human motor neurones.

Professor Siddharthan Chandran, who led the study, said: “Using patient stem cells to model MND in a dish offers untold possibilities for how we study the cause of this terrible disease, as well as accelerating drug discovery by providing a cost-effective way to test thousands of potential treatments.”