Trial planned for potential treatment for motor neurone disease

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Queensland Brain Institute's Professor Perry Bartlett’s research is helping fast-track a potential treatment for motor neurone disease (MND).

Professor Perry Bartlett plans to trial a drug that may protect motor neurons and delay progression of the disease. 

Motor neurone disease is a rapidly progressing neurological disorder that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord controlling the way we walk, talk, eat, speak, and breathe.

The loss of these nerve cells (motor neurons) leads to progressive muscle weakness and wasting. MND, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease, currently has no cure.

Professor Bartlett’s research has previously shown that a protein called EphA4 regulates MND progression through its involvement of motor neuron loss in the spinal cord.

The drug candidate blocks a protein known as EphA4, the subject of more than a decade of research by Professor Bartlett with Emeritus Professor Andrew Boyd from UQ and QIMR Berghofer.

QBI is working with a Queensland company, NuNerve, to develop and manufacture the drug candidate for use in planned clinical trials.

Professor Bartlett said the researchers believed the finding would have important implications for the future treatment of MND, spinal cord injury, as well as other neurological diseases.

“It is gratifying to see our discovery translated into a potential treatment for patients with MND.”

The project is supported by Peter Goodenough Corpus, Spinal Cure Australia (estate of Lisa Palmer), the BioPharmaceuticals Australia Development Fund, and FightMND.

Last updated:
22 October 2019