Motor Neurone Disease

Mr Canning spoke emotively in chapel this week about Motor Neurone Disease, and particularly its effects on Old Columban Alistair Dunwoody, a dear friend of Mr. Canning's. The Chaplain has agreed to send some money from the Chapel Emergency Fund to the help fund Stem Cell Research in the area of Motor Neurone Disease. Mr Canning also informed me about a recent article in the Daily Mail which shed light on a new finding which may help find a cure for the debilitating disease. Well known physicist, Stephen Hawking also suffers from the disease.

"A 'hero' gene that allows people with motor neurone disease to live longer has been pinpointed by British scientists, paving the way for new drug treatments for the devastating condition. Unlocking the secrets of the gene - the first of its kind to be identified - could lead to new and better treatments for the disease which kills half of sufferers within 14 months of diagnosis. Current care for Britain's 5,000 men and women with motor neurone disease, in which the nerve connections between the brain and the muscles gradually die, is largely palliative. Just one drug can slow the slide towards paralysis, although it only extends life expectancy by three to six months.

In contrast, medicines based on the 'hero' gene could boost survival by more than a year, research suggests. Dr Brian Dickie, of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, said: 'This is a significant finding, bearing in mind the speed with motor neurone disease can progress in patients. 'Just as there are genetic "villains" that can cause or predispose people to disease, so there are undoubtedly "hero" genes that help delay the onset of the disease or slow its progression..." Click here to see the full article.


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