UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Fast forwarding treatment for neurodegenerative disorders at LWENC

15 June 2015

The Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (LWENC) was established through a £20 million award from the Wolfson Foundation to UCL in 2011 and is based at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (the partner hospital of the UCL Institute of Neurology). It is the first centre the UK dedicated to fast-forwarding progress towards effective treatments for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and prion disease.

The Centre recently held a successful event celebrating international clinical trials day, where patients and members of the public could experience a first hand tour of the state of the art clinical research facility, meet the research team, as well as charities such as the National Brain Appeal, Parkinson’s UK and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

LWENC’s clinical research facility is available to UCL investigators or any trialist collaborating with a UCL-based co-investigator. 40 trials have been completed or are underway since the centre opened its doors in 2014.

The work of the LWENC, including the DIAN trial and ASO-HTTRx study, is highlighted in the latest issue of Lancet Neurology. 

LWENC is the only UK site for the international Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN) Trial, which is testing two experimental amyloid-targeting monoclonal anti-bodies, gantenerumab and solane-zumab, in pre-symptomatic or early-disease-stage participants.

The multicentre, international ASO-HTTRx study is a phase 1, first-into-human trial of HTTRx, an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO). HTTRx has shown promising initial findings in reducing the production of the harmful huntingtin protein and improving symptoms of Huntington’s disease in animal models.

Both Dr Fox and Dr Libri (Director of the Clinical Research Facility at LWENC) speak of the very pressing need to stimulate research and development in neuro-degenerative diseases. They hope that providing the Wolfson’s facilities and expertise to both academic and industry collaborators will stimulate more drug-discovery studies.

Further information