The UK SMA Research Consortium was launched at the beginning of 2016 and is the first of its kind in the country, creating a unique environment for collaboration across different research themes which will lead to better understanding of how SMA affects the whole body, as well as looking at potential new treatments and the best ways of delivering them.
The Consortium brings together 6 top SMA scientists in 4 top UK universities and, at £1.3 million, represents The SMA Trust’s biggest research grant to date. There are 2 teams in both Oxford & Edinburgh, 1 in London and 1 in Sheffield.
It was set up as a collaborative project in the hope that these 6 teams working together will accomplish more as a whole than if they were working on separate projects in 6 silos.
The 6 teams are working collaboratively on 3 main areas of research:
- Exploring different targets within different organs or systems in the body:
- Phase 1 is on known targets (e.g. in muscles or central nervous system)
- Phase 2 is on discovering new targets
- Medication/Drug Discovery:
- Exploring which drugs can treat the targets most effectively
- Exploring how the drugs can be delivered in the most efficient way to the targets to maximise effectiveness while keeping risks and discomfort to a minimum
Certain scientists in each location have different areas of expertise, so will be leading on the different areas of research.