The MND Association has over 30 years of experience in funding the most promising research into MND. We are a leader in the identification and funding of cutting-edge research both within the UK and across the world. Explore our achievements and research highlights since our first awarded research grant in 1980 until the most recent advances using the timeline below. Download a printable version of the timeline.
Read the latest news on the Association’s research achievements on our MND Research blog.
LITHIUM EFFECTIVE IN UNC13A
Re-analyses of the effects of lithium carbonate on MND showed slower disease progression in people with a variation in the UNC13A gene.
MIROCALS – FIRST PARTICIPANT RECRUITED
The MIROCALS (Modifying Immune Response and Outcomes in ALS) clinical trial, jointly funded by the MND Association and the European Union Horizon 2020, has recruited its first participant at Hospices Civils de Lyon, France.
ANXA11 GENE IDENTIFIED
Researchers from King’s College London found that mutations in ANXA11 gene are associated with the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
MARIE CURIE PARTNERSHIP
First year of jointly funding palliative and end of life care research projects. Read more.
AMBRoSIA INITIATES SEARCH FOR BIOMARKERS
Our biggest-ever research project, AMBRoSIA, initiates its search for MND biomarkers. Nested in three world-class research centres, it will be led by three of the UK’s top MND researchers – Prof Martin Turner (Oxford), Dr Andrea Malaspina (London) and Prof Dame Pamela Shaw (Sheffield).
NEK1 & C21ORF2 GENES REVEALED
Project MinE reveales C21ORF2 and NEK1 genes contribute to development of sporadic and inherited MND, respectively.
FULL NICE GUIDELINE PUBLISHED
After 6 years of campaigning, NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) published guidelines to help professionals provide the best possible treatment and care for patients. The guidelines are evidence-based recommendations for healthcare in England and are hugely influential on the future for those living with MND.
NON-CLINICAL FELLOWSHIP GRANTS ANNOUNCED
The Association announces the creation of non-clinical research fellowships. These fellowships are aimed at early career researchers across a range of disciplines, allowing them to take the reins of their very own research project.
TBK1 GENE IDENTIFIED
Researchers identify the TBK1 gene as a cause of inherited MND and FTD.
NEUROFILAMENTS AS A POTENTIAL BIOMARKER
Association’s biomarker research highlights neurofilament light chains (NfL) as a potential blood-based biomarker.
SIX-STAGE MODEL OF MND
Mathematical model developed in conjunction with Association-funded researchers showed that development of MND is a six-step process.
TUBA4A GENE IDENTIFIED
International team of researchers, led by MND Association-funded researchers based at King’s College London, have identified mistakes in the TUBA4A gene as a new cause of the rare inherited form of MND.
The MND Association approved first DNA samples to be sent for analysis to the International Project MinE initiative. This project was largely supported by the money raised with Ice Bucket Challenge.
MATR3 GENE IDENTIFIED
Association-funded researchers identify the MATR3 gene as a rare cause of inherited MND.
DNA BANK OPENS FOR RESEARCHERS
The Association’s MND DNA Bank opens to the worldwide research community as an important resource for identifying causes of MND. By the end of 2011 more than 3,000 samples had been banked from people living with MND in the UK, their family members and from healthy participants.
INTERNEURONES A KEY IN EARLY STAGES
Study by Association-funded researcher Dr Tennore Ramesh from the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) has shown that even before the symptoms of MND occur, at the earliest stages of the disease, ‘connector neurones’ known as interneurons are already becoming damaged in the zebrafish.
BioMOx REVEALS IMAGING BIOMARKER
Using an advanced brain scanning technique called ‘Whole-brain magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging’, Dr Martin Turner and colleagues find that the levels of a chemical found in the brain called N-acetylaspartate (NAA) decrease when the functional capabilities of people with MND decrease.
iPSC TECHNOLOGY USED WITH TDP-43 MUTATIONS
Association-funded researchers at the University of Edinburgh use induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology to show that motor neurones of people with TDP-43 MND degenerate faster than motor neurones from people without MND.
C9ORF72 GENE IDENTIFIED
Researchers discover that msitakes in the C9ORF72 gene cause up to 40% of all inherited cases of MND and FTD.
NICE GUIDANCE ON NIV
NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) issues guidance for the use of Non-Invasive Ventilation (NIV) in MND.