Funding Neuro’s initial focus has been on supporting the development of a new pathway of delivering drugs to the brain, Convection-Enhanced Delivery (CED), and testing how effective this method is across a range of neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s Disease and brain tumours.
The problem we’re tackling is quite simply put, but has huge implications as to how brain disorders can be treated. The major issue facing researchers and clinicians is that the brain is surrounded by a protective layer of blood, called the blood brain barrier. This is a natural defence mechanism that prevents anything harmful from entering the brain. The downside of this is that it also makes it very difficult to get man-made drugs delivered by traditional methods of chemotherapy across it and into the brain. This is one of the major reasons why there has been so little progress in developing treatments for disorders of the brain in recent decades.
To overcome this problem Professor Steven Gill has been developing a new way of delivering drugs into the brain, called CED. This uses a series of micro-catheters, inserted into the affected area of the brain with the utmost care by sophisticated robots, allowing drugs to be slowly infused directly to the target area. We are finding that a number of chemotherapy drugs are highly effective in treating brain disorders now that they can pass the blood brain barrier. One further benefit of the CED system is that it works with the blood brain barrier to keep drugs within the brain, meaning that patients experience far fewer debilitating side effects than they do with normal chemotherapy.
Establishing the viability of CED as a recognised treatment of choice for many of the most serious neurological disorders is the current focus of Funding Neuro’s work. Future clinical trials will be commissioned in a number of other conditions, including motor neurone disease, Alzheimer’s Huntington’s and glioblastoma – the most common adult brain tumour.
Alongside this treatment, we will continue to invest in finding the most effective and safest drugs to infuse through CED for each condition. Funding Neuro continue to support this research so that CED can be turned into an effective recognised treatment and made available to the widest number of patients.