Multiple Sclerosis research at the University is to benefit from a £2 million investment.
The MS Society awarded the funds to support the world-leading Edinburgh Centre for MS Research.
Over the next five years, researchers at the Centre will focus on using stem cells to build a clearer picture of how MS develops and aid the quest for new treatments.
Stem cells provide genuine hope as a vital tool for drug development. We are confident that they could soon help us answer the unmet need for treatments to stop, slow or reverse the symptoms of this condition.
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition that affects around 100,000 people in the UK. Scotland has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world.
The condition occurs when a protective layer surrounding nerve cells in the brain - called myelin - breaks down.
This results in damage to the nerve cells and symptoms including numbness, visual loss, fatigue, dizziness and weakness.
In progressive MS, these symptoms get gradually worse and there are no treatments that can slow or stop the progression of the disease.
The Centre brings together a multi-disciplinary team of investigators from the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the Centre for Neuroregeneration.
The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic will provide an interface between the laboratory-based basic science and clinical research.
In Scotland, we are uniquely placed to conduct this world-class research. We are very fortunate to have a wealth of expertise in regenerative medicine, an NHS that is hardwired to support the best clinical research, and a wonderful community of patients and supporters.
Researchers in the Centre have already made significant breakthroughs. In collaboration with the Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair, they have found several key molecules that may be important for helping to regenerate and repair myelin.
They are now preparing a small clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of a drug that targets one of these molecules - called RXR-gamma - which could potentially repair myelin in people with MS.
We know that people with MS desperately want treatments that can slow, stop or reverse the effects of MS progression – and the world-class researchers at the Edinburgh Centre could be pivotal in paving the way for how the condition is treated in the future.