FOLLOWING the announcement of a new clinical trial to test potential treatments for Motor Neurone Disease (MND), MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Claire Baker has asked Scottish Government to commit to support future drug discovery in order to plug more drugs into the trial as it progresses.

The new trial, MND-SMART, will be led by a team of researchers based in Edinburgh and will also look at whether existing treatments for other conditions would have some benefit for MND patients. The trial is designed to be flexible so the drugs being tested can change as results emerge, with new drugs able to be added and ineffective medicines dropped.

During First Minister's Questions today, Claire Baker said: “MND Scotland, The Euan MacDonald Centre and My Name’s Doddie Foundation launched a major MND drug trial yesterday, the biggest and most innovative trial the UK has ever seen.

“Two drugs are being tested as part of the MND SMART trial but there is flexibility to run more treatments to this trial in the future. What support can the Scottish Government provide to make sure we keep discovering new candidate drugs to trial through the MND SMART platform?”

Following the exchange Claire Baker MSP said: “The news of this trial is most welcome and represents a huge step in the fight back against MND. "The lack of treatment options has caused huge frustration and distress for MND patients and this trial is a significant and positive development.

“I urge the Scottish Government to commit to supporting future drug discovery so more treatments can be added to the trial as it progresses.

“With almost every MND patient in Scotland eligible, and trial centres to open in a number of Scottish locations, I would encourage anyone who wishes to take part to register their interest with MND-SMART.”