Robotics to combat motor neuron disease

Robotics help determine effectiveness of test for motor neurone disease

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NECESSITY: Dr Mary-Louise Rogers says there is an urgent need for a validated biomarker for motor neurone disease.

NECESSITY: Dr Mary-Louise Rogers says there is an urgent need for a validated biomarker for motor neurone disease.

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Novel urine test may help develop an early-warning test, or one day a cure, for the deadly neuro-degenerative disease.

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NEW robotics and lab facilities at Flinders University will fast-track testing the validity of the world's first urine biomarker for motor neurone disease.

Researchers says the novel urine test developed at the South Australian university will help speed up testing for efficacy in future large clinical trials.

It may even help with developing an early-warning test, or one day even a cure, for the deadly neuro-degenerative disease.

One in 400 Australians will be diagnosed with MND during their lifetime. Reliable diagnosis occurs late in the disease, resulting in irreversible nerve damage.

Biomarkers help track disease progression and aid in the development of therapies by providing a readout of whether or not the therapy is effective.

The facility will assess MND patients' response to new therapeutics being developed around Australia.

"There is an urgent need for a validated biomarker for MND that also tracks disease progression, especially in clinical trials of potential therapies, as there are none for MND," says Dr Mary-Louise Rogers, senior research fellow at Flinders University's College of Medicine and Public Health Centre for Neuroscience.

Along with the studies at Flinders, the urinary marker p75ECD is being used in a number of new clinical trials, including one for an anti-retroviral treatment led by Professor Julian Gold (Sydney University and University of London).

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