Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Project 1: For the first time, we will define a new role for a drug in enhancing brain repair during MS-like disease, used previously to treat people living with inherited neurological conditions. (i) We will identify how MS-like progressive symptoms can be limited by administering a drug that can reach the brain. We will specifically define the benefit this drug has in protecting cells from dying during MS-like disease. (ii) We will assess the feasibility of this drug that can readily enter the brain to exert repair by generating new cells and protecting nerve fibres. We will correlate this with clinically relevant parameters to assess the limitation of brain damage with the use of this drug. If this project is successful, and in particular, the drug is shown to be safe and efficacious in repairing the damaged brain, then the fact that it has already been tested in clinical phase trials means that a drug company can immediately trial the drug in MS patient groups that are not responding to other therapies. Therefore, this project will provide the proof-of-principle studies necessary for the drug to enter clinical phase trials in MS patients.Project 2: This will be the first study to utilise and validate genetically modified haematopoietic stem cells as the therapeutic delivery system to minimise and reverse the impact of MS progression. The research strategy uses a novel means to deliver a biological reparative agent directly to neuroinflammatory lesions, where neurodegenerative disease can propagate. Given that clinical studies using autologous bone marrow or haematopoietic stem cells of individuals have demonstrated improvement in the outcomes of MS, our novel technological advance of using these cells to deliver treatments for nervous system repair are timely and innovative. Delivering biological agents directly to areas where the disease is active will be investigated in this project to specifically limit the damage that can cause disability. Moreover, future therapeutic development of this technology may benefit individuals living with progressive MS through attenuating the extracellular disease milieu to favour repair in the adult CNS.


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