To mark Brain Awareness Week, March 13-19, Steve Brine MP joined a group of UK research institutions and charities at the House of Commons to discuss the challenges of fast-forwarding new treatments for neurological diseases. Harnessing the power of gene testing, streamlining the approvals processes for new therapies and investing further in translational research are seen as key to achieving this.
Steve Brine met representatives from the UCL Institute of Neurology, Neuro Research Trust and The National Brain Appeal who highlighted the opportunities for the UK, a world leader in using gene testing to deliver early diagnosis of neurological conditions, thanks to its long term investment in biomedical research.
Mr Brine heard how, with a streamlined testing and approvals procedure and additional funding for translational research, there is a real opportunity for the UK to take a world leading role in delivering effective treatments, meaning that those people affected by a neurological condition can live much longer, and much better.
Significantly less well funded, but similar in scale to cancer and heart disease, more than 1 in 6 people in the UK are affected by a neurological condition from stroke to Parkinson’s disease, from motor neurone disease to dementia. The current lack of effective treatments for these conditions means this could be described as a ‘slow motion pandemic’ that is gripping the nation.
Professor Mike Hanna, Director of the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, said “We are on the cusp of huge life changing breakthroughs in the field of gene therapy. However, this will only be achieved with increased funding for highly focused translational research, coupled with a commitment by government to develop a robust, but simplified approvals regime.”