The year in research

Its become quite the custom at this time of year to look back and review the events of the past twelve months. We have news reviews, sports reviews, music reviews and so on. And so in this spirit I would like to present my own roundup of what has been going on in the world of MND research (or at least as much as I’ve been aware of). As I have previously mentioned I use a Google alerts system to notify me of breaking news stories from around the world. This is a (by no means complete) look at some of the more interesting news stories that prove that research and understanding are slowly starting to unravel the intricacies of this highly complex neurological puzzle. As I have no training or qualifications in medical matters I’m not going to try to analyse and pass comment on the following news stories but simply to just bring them all together in chronological order for you to read. Click on the sources (highlighted in blue) for each of the story headings below to launch a web page news article.


“Scientists identify mutations in the gene responsible for the TDP-43 protein in people with ALS, a protein that is known to build up in the nerves (neurones) of people with ALS.”

Research conducted at King’s College London

Source: NHS Choices, The Independent, The Telegraph


“Targeting Astrocytes Slows Disease Progression in ALS, Study Shows”

Research conducted at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine

Source: Science Daily


“Two-way Cell Talk Provides Clues About Neuromuscular Disease”

Research conducted at Medical College of Georgia

Source: Science Daily


“Lithium Slows ALS Progression in Study”

Research conducted at University of Pisa (Italy), with colleagues at the University of Novara (Italy) and the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome

Source: MDA Research



“SHEFFIELD is poised to become a world centre for Motor Neurone Disease with the creation of an £18 million research institute in the city.”

Source: The Star



“ALS Disease Protein Found Throughout Brain, Suggesting Effects Beyond Motor Neurons”

Research conducted at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Source: AScribe


“Finding Clues for Nerve Cell Repair”

Research conducted at Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University

Source: Science Daily



“Nerve cells grown from new-style stem cells”

Research conducted at Harvard Medical School in Boston & Columbia University in New York

Source: Reuters, The Boston Globe, Scienceline


“Researchers Discover Key Gene for Making Motor Neurons”

Research conducted at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York University, University of Texas at Austin

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute



“Engineered stem cells carry promising ALS therapy”

Research conducted at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Source: University of Wisconsin



“Swamping bad cells with good in ALS animal models helps sustain breathing”

Research conducted at Johns Hopkins

Source: EurekAlert



“Scientists gain insight into the cause and possible treatment of motor neurone disease”

Research conducted at UCL & King’s College London

Source: e! Science News



“Year that could be turning point on disease”

A tissue reprogramming technique that promises an almost limitless source of stem cells without the need to destroy embryos has been named as the breakthrough of the year by the prestigious journal Science.

Source: Times Online


“Novel Human Stem Cell-based Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Opens Doors for Rapid Drug Screening”

Research conducted at Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Source: Science Daily

Here’s hoping that 2009 is a breakthrough year…


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