Global Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Awareness Day

We spoke to MND expert,  A/Prof Peter Crouch, as MND communities across the world work to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.

Motor Neurone Disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disease with no effective treatment or cure. Progression of the disease results in death of brain cells that control muscle movements leading to muscle weakness and eventually paralysis.

Each year on 21 June the Global MND Awareness Day is used to express hope that one day there will be a turning point in the search for cause, treatment and cure of this disease. This year's theme ‘MND Over Matter’ is an opportunity to start a conversation about Motor Neurone Disease, to challenge perceptions and celebrate the amazing strength of spirit of those living with and affected by MND.

In our Melbourne community we have seen Co-Founder of Fight MND, Neale Daniher, at the forefront of MND awareness-raising  spearheading fundraising events like the annual BigFreeze held in June each year. The former Former Essendon player and Melbourne Football Club Coach was diagnosed with MND in 2013 and has been determined to live life to the fullest whilst facing the challenges the disease brings.

Image: the annual BigFreeze event sees iconic Australians take on an ice bath challenge to raise money for MND

Hope for a cure

Here in the School of Biomedical Sciences, Associate Professor Peter Crouch, Head of the Neurodegenerative Disease Laboratory (Department of Biochemistry & Pharmacology) has been at the forefront of MND research for nearly two decades. Over a 15 year period he was directly involved in the development and trial of the promising CuATSM drug which went to Phase 1 trials in 2019. The treatment subsequently went to Phase 2/3 in Australia later that year to explore whether the drug is beneficial to a larger cohort of people with MND. The results of the trial, aimed at evaluating the efficacy and safety of CuATSM, are due out this year.

Image: Prof Peter Crouch (right) and researchers

Last year, Peter was awarded an highly competitive NHMRC Idea Grant  to continue his research into degenerative diseases of the central nervous system – in particular Motor Neurone Disease and multiple sclerosis.

People afflicted with these diseases suffer debilitating symptoms and die prematurely. Our work is designed to explain the underlying mechanisms that drive these diseases and verify activity of new drug candidates. Our  ultimate goal is to slow the progression of disease in people diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and improve quality of life.

Prof Peter Crouch

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