J K Rowling breaks new ground at research clinic ceremony

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The capsule contains accounts from patients living with multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases

AUTHOR J K Rowling today buried a time capsule to mark the start of building work on a research clinic for patients with multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The clinic at the University of Edinburgh is being set up following a £10 million donation from Ms Rowling and is named after the Harry Potter author’s mother, Anne, who died of multiple sclerosis aged 45.

The capsule will contain accounts from patients living with multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases as well as contributions from clinicians on current treatments and their hopes for the future.

The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic will focus on clinical research, targeting discovery of treatments that will slow progression of neurodegenerative diseases, with the ultimate ambition of repairing damage.

Work at the clinic will also seek to provide insight into conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and motor neurone disease.

Ms Rowling said: “I am both delighted and moved to be marking the start of the official building work for the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic. This time capsule captures how it is for people living with MS and other neurodegenerative diseases right now, and the current state of research.

Challenge

“I believe that this Clinic will have a huge positive effect on both of those areas in the future.  I am enormously impressed in what has gone into setting up the Clinic so far, and I look forward to seeing it completed and making further great strides in research and treatment.”

The clinic, which will become operational in 2012, will be housed in a purpose-built University facility alongside the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France and within the flagship life sciences project, Edinburgh BioQuarter.

The new clinic follows the creation of the Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research, also at Little France, in 2007, which has also received support from Ms Rowling.

Siddharthan Chandran, Professor of Neurology at the University of Edinburgh, who will lead the clinic, said: “Neurodegenerative diseases are one of the major challenges to modern medicine. Within this group of devastating disorders, MS disproportionately affects the Scottish population.

“All patients with these tough diseases need treatments that will slow, stop and ideally reverse damage. This clinic will pioneer a range of studies that over time will improve patients’ lives through innovative clinical research.”

Clinical academics will work closely with existing neurodegenerative disorder researchers at theUniversityofEdinburgh. This will include expertise from the Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research, the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, the Centre for Neuroregeneration, the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research and the Division of Clinical Neurosciences.

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