Discovering the structures that comprise misfolded SOD1 and searching for drug molecules which help it fold properly.

Dr Gareth Wright

Principal Investigator: Dr Gareth Wright

Lead Institution: University of Essex

MND Association Funding: £289,590* 

Funding dates: April 2019 - March 2024

*Supported by The Lady Edith Wolfson Fellowship Programme & the UK Government BEIS/DH Medical Research Charity Support Fund

About the project

SOD1 is a protein found in all human cells but sometimes it misfolds into abnormal shapes that are toxic to motor neurons, leading to their death. This project will search for drug molecules that help it fold properly and create synthetic proteins that will remove it using the cellular recycling system. Ultimately the project will help us understand what causes those instances of MND where SOD1 misfolding is present and find therapeutic applications.

What could this mean for MND research?

The project will improve our current understanding of SOD1 misfolding in some forms of MND and highlight new therapeutic strategies which might be of use in counteracting it. Although this project focuses on SOD1, there is potential for this approach to be adapted to address other misfolded proteins involved in MND, meaning it could have therapeutic applications for many forms of the disease.

"The MNDA's Senior Non-Clinical Fellowship has given me the time and resources to direct my own research and become established as an independent scientist."

Project code: 969-799

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