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03 February 2023

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care visits King's College London

Following a meeting of sector leaders, the Rt Hon Stephen Barclay MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, met with scientists from King’s College London, clinicians from King’s College Hospital and patients to better understand how the £50m allocated for Motor Neuron Disease (MND) research could be used.

Steve Barclay Ammar Al-Chalabi
The Rt Hon Stephen Barclay MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and Phil Vickery meeting the research team.

Accompanied by Professor Clive Kay, CEO of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Professor Ammar Al-Chalabi, Professor of Neurology and Complex Disease Genetics at King’s College London and Phil Vickery, England Rugby World Cup winner and My Name'5 Doddie ambassador, Mr Barclay was shown how some of this funding would benefit research and patients at the King’s MND Care and Research Centre, part of the UK MND Research Institute collaboration.

The Rt Hon Stephen Barclay MP said: “Motor neurone disease can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, and I’m working with leading researchers to accelerate research and help find a cure as soon as we can.

“We have made strong progress since we pledged £50 million for MND research with new treatments being developed and promising results from clinical trials reported, but I know there is still more to do.”

King’s MND Care and Research Centre is a national centre of excellence for the diagnosis and care of people with the condition. Established in 1995, it was the first such centre in the UK to combine multidisciplinary care at King’s College Hospital with clinical research at King’s College London. In the last year, 147 King’s patients took part in clinical research, made possible because of the close links between the clinic and the laboratories.

We are delighted Secretary of State for Health and Social Care The Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, was able to visit King’s and the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute, to see first-hand our ground-breaking MND research and meet the scientists working in the King’s MND Care and Research Centre.

Professor Shitij Kapur, Principal and President of King’s College London

Professor Shitij Kapur, Principal and President of King’s College London said: "King’s College London has always been a home for research that seeks to deliver real change, pushing at the boundaries of current understanding in a bid to improve the lives of those in need in our local and global community. This is only possible thanks to the tenacious ambition that our researchers bring to their work, and is yet another example of our inter-disciplinary research, made richer by our close links with clinical partners."

Professor Clive Kay, Chief Executive of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: "Here at King’s, we have a long history of providing world-leading care to MND patients thanks to our highly expert and dedicated team, and the pioneering early collaboration between the Trust and King’s College London. We are delighted the Secretary of State chose to visit King’s this week to see the fantastic work happening at both a research and clinical level.” 

“The UK MND Research Institute is an idea driven by patients in partnership with clinicians and scientists and will dramatically accelerate the search for a much-needed cure.”

Professor Ammar Al-Chalabi, Co-Director, UK MND Research Institute

King’s College London has a rich history that has sought to answer the key questions at the heart of MND. Our prize-winning, world-leading researchers have made key contributions to the field that have greatly improved our understanding of what causes MND and possible treatment strategies, carrying out more than 30 clinical trials. The UK MND Research Institute will be strategically placed locally and nationally, and will provide an invaluable opportunity to drive forward research that will have a real impact on people living with MND.

The government funding is awarded to a national collaboration, badged under the name UK MND Research Institute. The Institute officially launched on 1 January 2023 with King's College London, collaborating with The University of Sheffield, The University of Liverpool, The University of Edinburgh, The University of Oxford, and University College London. The partnership includes patient activists and charities, the MND Association, MND Scotland, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and LifeArc.

The UK MND Research Institute represents the ongoing collaborative nature of MND research. It builds upon the work of the MND Care and Research Centre, a partnership between King’s College London and King’s College Hospital, and was the first specialist centre for MND in the UK to provide diagnosis and care to people with MND.

We are also home to the UK Dementia Research Institute at King’s where national collaborations are conducted into various neurodegenerative diseases. The centre has recently resulted in a spin-out gene-therapy company Aviadobio to explore treatments for MND and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).

For more information, please contact Patrick O'Brien (Senior Media Officer)

In this story

Ammar Al-Chalabi

Professor of Neurology and Complex Disease Genetics

Shitij Kapur

Vice-Chancellor & President of King's College London