VIB and Oxford BioMedica awarded £255K grant for motor neurone programme

30 Jun 2010 | News

Collaboration | Grant

Gene therapy specialist Oxford BioMedica is teaming up with the Belgian life science research institute VIB to carry out preclinical evaluation of Oxford BioMedica’s product MoNuDin for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).   

The research will be supported by a £225,000 grant from the UK Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association. The grant will fund a collaboration between Oxford BioMedica and the research group of Peter Carmeliet, Director of the VIB Vesalius Research Centre and Professor of Medicine at KU Leuven.

The collaboration will use Oxford BioMedica’s LentiVector gene delivery technology to compare the therapeutic potential of two forms of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).  Previous preclinical studies carried out by Oxford BioMedica and VIB, also funded by the MND Association, have shown that one form of VEGF delayed disease onset, slowed disease progression and extended life expectancy in ALS research models.

This project will also evaluate the optimal delivery protocol for these gene therapy approaches.  

MoNuDin is designed to protect motor neurones susceptible to degeneration as a result of ALS through the delivery of a neuroprotective VEGF gene. Oxford BioMedica is also conducting further preclinical studies of MoNuD in collaboration with the ALS Therapy Development Institute.

Brian Dickie, Director of Research Development at the MND Association, said, “One of the major hurdles to treating motor neurone disease is ensuring that therapeutic agents are delivered to their site of action in the brain and spinal cord. We are delighted to support a research initiative which combines innovative approaches to drug delivery with the development of a promising therapeutic compound.”

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