Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North Leads Attack on Deadly Illnesses; Scientists Coordinate European Research

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North Leads Attack on Deadly Illnesses; Scientists Coordinate European Research

Article excerpt

Byline: By Liz Hands Health Correspondent

SCIENTISTS in the North-East are leading a pounds 7m European research battle to find cures for muscular disorders which can leave children wheelchair-bound and cut life expectancy.

Newcastle's Centre for Life is heading the project - the first of its kind.

Called TREAT-MD, which stands for Translational Research in Europe - Assessment and Treatment of Neuromuscular Diseases, the project brings together 21 organisations in 11 European countries.

Scientists will work closely with doctors to test and apply new research into inherited neuromuscular disorders - which affect around 200,000 people in Europe and 30,000 in the UK.

Researchers want to develop new ways to treat patients with muscle-wasting conditions such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which affects mainly boys, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

Kate Bushby and Volker Straub, professors of neuromuscular genetics with Newcastle University's Institute of Human Genetics, who are based at the Centre for Life, are coordinating TREAT-MD.

The network has been launched 20 years after scientists found the gene that caused DMD but, as yet, no cure has been found.

Prof Bushby said: "At the moment no cures exist for these incredibly disabling diseases, so patients receive treatment from doctors like me and Professor Straub to manage their condition in the best way. …

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