The trustees have agreed a series of grant awards to MND research projects at centres of excellence across the UK.
The Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board helps determine its research investment strategy. It now regularly engages with the research community to seek advice and to help it better understand MND and work towards finding a cure.
Doddie Weir OBE said: “I am delighted that we are making such an important contribution to vital research work. I’d like to thank everyone who has made this possible, but especially the thousands of fund raisers who have given their time, energy and imagination to help us raise such significant funds. Our advisory panel has really helped steer our thinking and given us direction – we greatly appreciate their input.”
Dame Pam Shaw, Professor of Neurology at Sheffield University said: “We are absolutely delighted at the support given to the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience by the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.”
”We will use this generous support to enable our team to build the manpower needed to conduct the pipeline of exciting clinical trials on the horizon for patients with MND. Our goal is to find therapies which protect motor neurons and slow down the progression of MND symptoms and also to give as many patients as possible the opportunity to participate in new treatment trials.”
The work of Chris Shaw, Professor of Neurology at King’s College, London, has already benefited from the Foundation’s support and this has been extended. In addition, further investment has also been awarded to Ammar Al-Chalabi, Professor of Neurology, also at King’s, who added:
”We are very grateful to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation at King’s. With their generous support, we can now run more MND clinical trials more quickly, speeding the search for a cure.”
The Foundation is very keen to encourage collaboration between the centres and today it has announced further investment into drug repurposing research, with Professor Kevin Talbot from Oxford University, which will complement Prof Siddharthan Chandran’s work already initiated at Edinburgh.
Professor Talbot said: “One of the major barriers to finding effective treatments for MND is that currently drugs are tried one at a time, which is costly and slow. In this research, funded by the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, we will screen large numbers of drugs which are already licenced for use in humans, to identify drugs which may be much more effective in combination. This gives us a great chance of rapidly accelerating the search for effective treatments for MND.”
Professor Tom Gillingwater, co-collaborator on the project, said: "We are massively grateful to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation for supporting our project. By bringing together two laboratories from Oxford and Edinburgh you are facilitating cutting-edge research that will use a combination of complementary techniques and approaches in order to identify effective new drugs for motor neuron disease."
My Name’5 Doddie Foundation is also committed to helping those affected by motor neuron disease and has given a total of £350,000 to MND Scotland and MND Association. This is distributed as grants on behalf of the foundation and helps pay for adaptations to homes and funds respite care for carers.