MP for Airdrie and Shotts, Anum Qaisar-Javed MP, spoke at a parliamentary debate to discuss a call for £50million of Government funding into targeted motor neurone disease research.
The debate was prompted by a 110,000-signature petition, spearheaded by rugby legend Doddie Weir and backed by a coalition including people with MND, leading neuroscientists, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, MND Scotland and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
The petition was backed by campaigners in North Lanarkshire, many of whom have personal experience of the brutal disease and who want to see promising recent progress in research accelerated towards meaningful treatments in the near future.
On the same day as the issue was debated, the coalition, under the banner United to End MND, handed in a Spending Review bid to the UK Government. This is asking for a £50million investment over five years to be ring-fenced in the Spending Review, expected towards the end of the year from Chancellor Rishi Sunak, which sets out future spending on public services.
Ms Qaisar-Javed said:
“It’s incredibly hard not to become emotional when you hear stories from those with MND, who describe it as ‘a journey of losses’. As they gradually lose control of different muscles in the body, they’re presented with new obstacles and challenges to try to overcome. It’s a constant battle to be able to continue to live a normal life.
“I think that is clear that UK Government is not investing anywhere near the amount needed to drive forward research and innovation, and so it’s vital that they commit to the £50m that the MND Association is asking for. Of course it’s not just about finding a cure but, in the meantime, being able to identify potential treatments that can slow it’s progression; extend life expectancy; and allow people to live a normal life for as long as they possibly can.
The funding would be focused on the search for new treatments for the terminal illness which kills six people every day and will affect more than 200,000 of the current population unless treatments are found. Along with further investment from MND charities and the pharmaceutical industry, the money would allow for the creation of a virtual MND Research Institute.
For more information about the campaign visit www.mndassociation.org/unitedtoendMND.