The UK government has recently announced that £50 million will be invested in research to help find a cure for ALS. The funding forms part of a wider £375 million investment for innovative research for neurodegenerative diseases. It will be made available over the next five years to (TRICALS) researchers in the UK and will be important to drive the search for new therapies forward. TRICALS is encouraged that the UK government recognises the urgency of ALS research and we are extremely motivated to stimulate funding in other European countries.
The funding is a result of a two-year campaign led by the MND Association, the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, MND Scotland, people living with ALS and top neurologists, including TRICALS colleagues Professor Chris McDermott and Professor Ammar Al-Chalabi. The ‘United to End MND’-campaign launched a call to fund a virtual centre of excellence for MND research. This virtual institute should provide the infrastructure in the UK needed to accelerate ALS research leading to new therapies, which reflects TRICALS’ strategy and goal. We are, therefore, looking forward to further improve and innovate ALS clinical trials together with our TRICALS colleagues in the UK. The success of this campaign is a perfect example that collaboration is key to accelerate our search for better treatments.
The public’s voice
Following an UK Parliament debate of a petition authored by Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir, which gained over 100,000 signatures from the public, an open letter from hundreds of people living with ALS was presented at 10 Downing Street in September. This was done by former Rugby league star Rob Burrow and former footballer Stephen Darby, together with neurologists and many others living with ALS. The letter urged the government to invest £50 million into targeted research over five years. In the middle of November, prime minister Boris Johnson announced that the government granted the funding.
Largest European research collaboration for ALS
TRICALS is the largest European research collaboration to find a cure for ALS to date. 45 top research centres in 15 countries have joined hands with patient organisations and fundraisers to reach our one goal: find effective treatments for ALS.