About 2000 Australians live with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) which causes progressive degeneration of motor neurones in the brain and spinal cord. Associate Professor Justin Yerbury’s research team at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) is dedicated to studying neuro-degeneration and MND.
A/Prof Yerbury has devoted over a decade of his life to studying MND and IHMRI is committed to finding a cure for this insidious disease. A/Prof Yerbury is working with Dr Lezanne Ooi on a project to understand why motor neurones are specifically vulnerable to MND. They will investigate how and why the properties of motor neurones change before, during and after disease onset and the role of astrocytes – cells that normally perform a supportive role for neurons – in contributing to these changes and neuronal death in MND. Identifying these pathways could lead to a novel treatment avenue.
The next step is to translate that knowledge into therapies and the development of new drugs. The aim is to make MND a treatable condition rather than a death sentence.
$30,000 will help the team test their research in pre-clinical trials.