The Euan MacDonald Centre is a research centre which is part of the University of Edinburgh. The centre was established in 2007 and seeks to improve the lives of patients with motor neurone disease (MND).[1] The centre was part funded by a donation by Euan MacDonald, who was diagnosed with MND in 2003, and his father Donald MacDonald.[2][3][4] In addition to conducting research, the centre also offers clinical treatments. Around 130 are diagnosed with MND each year in Scotland alone.[5]

In 2013, the centre announced a new partnership with the J9 Foundation which provides support for people with MND in South Africa.[6] Discoveries by the centre include the finding that Zebrafish are able to produce motor neurones when they repair their spinal cords from injury[7] and abnormalities in the protein TDP-43 result in the death of motor neurone cells.[8]

The Euan MacDonald Centre is currently leading a new UK-wide clinical trial, MND-SMART which aims to find treatments for MND.

In 2021, The Euan MacDonald Centre announced a discovery that sheds light on how nerve cells damaged by MND can be repaired.[9]


The MND-SMART clinical trial has been developed by specialists from across the UK, led by the Euan MacDonald Centre and in collaboration with University College London and the University of Warwick.[10][11] Financial support has come from private funders and donors to the Euan MacDonald Centre and from MND Scotland and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.[citation needed]

The trial has been designed to test more than one treatment at the same time against a shared placebo group. Initially it will test drugs that are already licensed for use in other conditions, such as Alzheimer's Disease and depression. Ineffective medicines can be dropped and new drugs added after the trial has started. This approach could dramatically reduce the time it takes for effective treatments to be made available.[12][13]


  1. ^ "About The Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research". The Euan MacDonald Centre. 20 March 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  2. ^ Donnelly, Brian. "Hotel chain's founder gives cash for motor neurone centre". The Herald. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  3. ^ Swanson, Brian (27 June 2007). "Businessman's plight to save his son". Scottish Express. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Motor neurone sufferer gives £1m to create research centre". The Scotsman. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Edinburgh centre is world leader in research into disease". STV News. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Joost van der Westhuizen in motor neurone disease research drive". BBC News. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Zebrafish offer hope for treatment for motor neurone disease". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 September 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Researchers use skin cells from MND patient to create motor neurones". News Medical. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  9. ^ McArdle, Helen. "Breakthrough discovery reveals way of reversing Motor Neurone Disease damage". The Herald. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  10. ^ Hughes, Dominic (15 January 2020). "MND: The search for new treatments". BBC News. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  11. ^ "'One of biggest' clinical drug trial for MND launched". ITV. 15 January 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  12. ^ Mehta, Arpan R.; Pal, Suvankar; Chataway, Jeremy; Carpenter, James R.; Parmar, Mahesh K. B.; Chandran, Siddharthan (10 May 2022). "Smarter adaptive platform clinical trials in neurology: a showcase for UK innovation". Brain. 145 (8): e64–e65. doi:10.1093/brain/awac169. hdl:20.500.11820/0bcf9f07-3ba8-4b8e-a234-1520f5de02bd. ISSN 0006-8950. PMID 35535817.
  13. ^ Mehta, Arpan R; Chataway, Jeremy; Pal, Suvankar; Parmar, Mahesh K B; Chandran, Siddharthan (December 2021). "Trials for neurodegenerative diseases: time to innovate". The Lancet Neurology. 20 (12): 984. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(21)00388-4. PMC 7612114. PMID 34800413.

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