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New MRC-backed international partnership to support neuromuscular disease patients around the world

UCL's International Centre for Genomic Medicine in Neuromuscular Diseases will bring together partners from India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Zambia

Staff from the new International Centre for Genomic Medicine in Neuromuscular Diseases, bringing together partners in India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Zambia

30 July 2018

Professor Michael Hanna (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) has led a successful £3.66m bid to the Medical Research Council (MRC) to establish a brand new International Centre for Genomic Medicine in Neuromuscular Diseases.

Staff and resources from international centres in India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Zambia will be central to the partnership.

The team plans to dramatically increase the number of patients with an accurate genetic diagnosis, build "trial ready" cohorts and ultimately improve health outcomes for patients. 

Michael said: “I am very pleased to be working with outstanding PIs in each of the international partner centres to ultimately advance genetic diagnosis and therapy for neuromuscular diseases, which affect at least 17 million children and adults globally.”

Developing links in India

Among the partners involved in the collaboration is the Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), with whom UCL is developing increasingly strong links.

Last month UCL academics specialising in medical research, healthcare technologies and frugal innovation welcomed AIIMS colleagues to discuss future collaboration, including the MRC bid.

Long-lasting benefits

The MRC application was supported by UCL’s Pro-Vice-Provost for South Asia, Professor Marie Lall, and Vice-Provost International Dr Dame Nicola Brewer.

Marie said: "UCL has many years of working in low and medium income countries, and especially with India.

"The International Centre for Genomic Medicine in Neuromuscular Diseases will have long-lasting research and health benefits for patients with Neuromuscular Disease."

Nicola added: “This initiative connects centres in India, Turkey, South Africa and Zambia in a significant transcontinental partnership.

“Crucially, the international centre will help to train a new generation of clinical academics who will become the leaders of genomic medicine and specialist care delivery.”

UCL’s Provost, Vice-Provost International and Pro-Vice-Provost (South Asia) will lead a delegation visiting key partners in India, including AIIMS, in September 2018.