Professor Heath Ecroyd and Senior Professor Mark Wilson. Photo by Trudy Simpkin.

Early stage drug discovery project underway at IHMRI

The USA Department of Defense will commit $750,000 over two years to a drug testing trial to find a treatment for motor neurone disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Researchers at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), Senior Professor Mark Wilson and Professor Heath Ecroyd, have been awarded the funding to identify potential new drug treatments.

“This project will harness a new high-thoughput screening platform we have developed to search for drug leads to treat ALS,” said Senior Professor Mark Wilson.

“We invested several years of work to develop a new cell-based assay that provides a unique way to rapidly and quantitatively examine the effects of large numbers of small drug molecules on a process that is strongly implicated in disease causation. We measure the mislocalization and aggregation of a protein, TDP-43, to form insoluble inclusions inside motor neuron cells, and the survival of these cells.”

“The primary drug screening assay will be performed by flow cytometry and drug hits further tested in cell models expressing other aggregation-prone proteins implicated in MND.”

“The search for these drug leads is imperative if we are to have the capacity to save individuals from the debilitating and cruel afflictions imposed by this horrid disease.” said Senior Professor Mark Wilson.

Media contact

Louise Negline, Communications Coordinator

t: 4221 4702

m: 0417 044 867

e: louisenegline@ihmri.org.au

Top picture: Professor Heath Ecroyd and Senior Professor Mark Wilson. Photo by Alex Pike.

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