Professor Justin Yerbury

Donations will fund Professor Justin Yerbury’s research.

The University of Wollongong has launched its new Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Research fundraising Appeal. The funds will support the work of  Professor Justin Yerbury and his team at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI).

The launch of the appeal coincided with Professor Yerbury’s presentation at the 30th International Symposium on ALS/MND in Perth.

Since 2018 more than $180,000 has been donated to help Professor Yerbury’s research through a variety of events and fundraising activities including last month’s MND trivia night in Wollongong which raised over $17,000.

Other donations have come in through last year’s MND appeal from all over Australia and overseas.

Approximately 2000 Australians are living with MND and have a drastically reduced lifespan after diagnosis.

Professor Yerbury was diagnosed with MND in 2016.

He now requires full time care and uses an electric wheelchair to get around and needs a ventilator to help him breath.

He communicates using eye-gaze software on his ipad.

“One of the biggest hurdles in finding a treatment and a cure for MND is effectively delivering drugs to the affected neurons in the brain,” Professor Yerbury said.

“We have discovered a way to increase the chances of gene therapy treatments working by crossing the blood-brain barrier. We have also identified and tested a wide range of potential new drugs and gene therapies. None of this would have been possible without generous and ongoing donations to our research.

“Every donation counts. We would not be able to do the work that we do without this community support; it’s just as important as an extra person in the lab.

“Without philanthropic support we would have to forgo certain experiments and tools, which would limit our scope and impact. Essentially, our research would grind to a halt.”

Professor Yerbury says his team’s next step is to obtain data using the high-powered Titan Krios microscope, which will be installed in Molecular Horizons at UOW’s Wollongong campus, to help learn how to slow the disease.

“Every single contribution can enable a vital part of the process and take us closer to our ultimate goal,” Professor Yerbury said.

“I have absolutely no doubt that, within my lifetime, we will find a cure for MND.”

The MND Research Appeal aims to raise $20,000 to support the work of Professor Yerbury and his team. One-hundred per cent of donations raised will go towards supporting their research.

For more information or to make a donation go to https://giving.uow.edu.au/case-studies/mnd/

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