A scientific study claims to have used a new state-of-the-art technique to learn more about the degenerative process of motor neurone disease.
Funded by the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), the research used a technique normally reserved for cancer treatments to accurately observe the cellular transport process (CTP) in patients with the disease.
CTP is the way in which nutrients and components are carried through motor neurones, making it a key process to be examined when motor neurone disease develops.
Lead researcher professor Giampietro Schiavo of University College London said that essential proteins are carried in this way, and if their progress is blocked it will cause problems for the neurones, and they will die.
"If we can show that changes in cellular transport occur early in motor neurone disease in humans as well as mice, it might be possible to use this as an aid to quicker diagnosis," he said.
The MNDA estimated that two in every 100,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with the condition.
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