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The MDUK Oxford Neuromuscular Centre is a partnership between Muscular Dystrophy UK and the University of Oxford. It was established in January 2019 and aims to drive forward the development of novel experimental therapies and increase national clinical trial capacity in neuromuscular diseases.

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Background

Neuromuscular diseases (NMD) are an important group of inherited and acquired disabling conditions caused by impairment of peripheral nerve and / or skeletal muscle function, and leading to premature death or major chronic disability. Over the last decade, there has been dramatic progress in the development and testing of experimental therapies for NMD, exemplified by the unprecedented number of possible therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) coming to trial, the extensive patient registries and work on outcome measures and regulatory interactions led by TREAT-NMD and other groups.

However, to date, involvement of clinical trial sites in the UK outside the main centres at Newcastle and London has been limited, especially in industry-funded studies. Nationally, there are thus two current strategic imperatives:

  • Accelerate the pre-clinical discovery, development and translation of improved, 2nd generation experimental therapies for DMD and other NMDs;
  • Increase dramatically UK clinical trial capacity.

The MDUK Oxford Neuromuscular Centre was established to address these objectives. An investment of £1 million from the charity, and a significant investment from the university, is going towards new resources, including start-up seed funding for research costs and a number of new staff posts. This will boost translational research and capacity for clinical trials in Oxford.

 

Structure

The Centre is housed by the University of Oxford’s Department of Paediatrics and spans across multiple departments including the Department of Paediatrics, the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, the Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health, the Department of Chemistry and the Oxford University Hospitals Neurology Services.

The Centre is governed by a steering group of researchers all based at the University of Oxford: Professor Matthew J.A. Wood; Professor Dame Kay E. Davies; Professor Georg A. Holländer; Professor Laurent Servais and Professor Kevin Talbot.

The Centre is managed by Dr Jaclyn Nicole Le Grand, the project manager.