For the last six years, researchers from 20 countries across the globe have been collaborating on Project MinE. This ambitious international project is the largest ever looking into the genetic causes of MND, with the DNA profiles of 22,500 people being mapped to help discover what causes this disease.
And thanks to your support, another gene discovery has been made. Professor Ammar Al-Chalabi (pictured) is one of the lead researchers in the UK on Project MinE, and his team have been involved in the discovery of a new gene associated with MND called DNAJC7. This gene helps proteins to fold into the correct shape, and also helps clear damaged proteins. When this goes wrong, proteins build up in nerve cells, which causes them to die.
"This discovery has been made possible thanks to the generosity of supporters, thousands of people with MND who have given their time and samples to be analysed, and the many researchers working in labs all over the world. It means we understand a bit more about what causes MND and that gives us new ways to think about developing an effective treatment."