MSWA provides grant of $200,000 for research into motor neurone disease

06 December 2018

A $200,000 grant from MSWA will support research into proteins linked to the progression of motor neurone disease (MND) as well as a ground-breaking national study into the needs of carers and families of people experiencing end-of-life care and bereavement.

The grant is MSWA’s first funding allocation to research into MND (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS).

MSWA CEO Marcus Stafford AM said the decision to support MND research reflected the expanded charter of MSWA as an organisation that helps people living not only with MS, but all neurological conditions.

“As Australia’s largest contributor of funding for MS research, we began to diversify our research investment program last year when we supported an investigation into stroke,” said Mr Stafford.

“This year we continue to broaden our scope with this grant to the Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia.”

Dr Sarah Rea of The University of Western Australia will lead a study into the interactions between p62 and TDP-43, which aggregate in the cell body in most patients with MND. It is hoped the study will help identify a target for future research into potential therapeutics for this neurological condition. Professor Samar Aoun of La Trobe University in Victoria will lead the other MSWA-supported research project, a national survey to help better understand the needs of family members who care for people with MND. The results will provide a foundation for developing more targeted supports and resources to help families manage decision-making and grief. Janet Nash, Executive Officer of the Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute, said donations received each year were never enough to support all of the excellent funding applications that warranted funding. “MSWA’s offer of two grants of $100,000 each will enable two additional researchers to lead their teams toward discovery and improved care in 2019,” said Ms Nash.

“Both MND and multiple sclerosis are neurodegenerative conditions. Outcomes from research in one disease may well translate to benefit for the other – and maybe more neurodegenerative conditions as well.”

MSWA’s grant to MNDRIA is part of its record $3 million investment in research funding for neurological conditions for 2018-19.

“Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, MSWA is in a position to broaden our investment in research and support scientific investigations into other neurological conditions, such as MND and stroke,” said Mr Stafford.

“While MSWA strives on a daily basis to improve the lives of people living with neurological conditions, we believe that medical research provides hope to the people we support and their families."