Cambridge scientist Dr Su Metcalfe awarded 150k for ground-breaking MS trials

Posted: October 2, 2014 at 5:40 pm

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Treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients could be revolutionised in ground-breaking trials planned by a Cambridge scientist.

Dr Su Metcalfe, a University of Cambridge senior research associate based at Addenbrookes, has won a 150,000 award which will enable her team to proceed to pre-clinical trials in Nanotechnology.

The award is one of only five given out this year worldwide from major pharmaceutical company, Merck Serono, and the first to a UK scientist.

The technology developed for treatment of MS - an incurable autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system - by Dr Metcalfe uses tiny smart nanoparticles that act as magic bullets to deliver powerful factors known to increase repair of damaged myelin. The key factor is LIF, a stem cell protein.

The money from the Merck-Seronos Grants for Multiple Sclerosis International (GMSI) scheme will fund preclinical trials of Metcalfes nano-therapeutic device that taps into the bodys natural mechanisms for repair and avoids use of drugs.

Nanotechnology is now recognised as a key platform for healthcare, said Dr Metcalfe. Our smart technology allows us to target delivery of molecules able to repair myelin and also reduce inflammation.

By using a nanoparticle platform where the safety in humans is already confirmed, a hugely important feature for rapid progress towards the clinic, we can now expect to move to clinical trials within three to five years.

Multiple sclerosis commonly affects young adults and in the UK alone, more than 100,000 people have MS with 2,500 being diagnosed each year.

The disease causes damage to the nerve sheaths, or myelin, which normally insulate the electrical activity of nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord.

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Cambridge scientist Dr Su Metcalfe awarded 150k for ground-breaking MS trials

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