Toxic Cells

Gareth’s project will investigate how some cells become toxic to motor neurones and what toxic signals they send to motor neurones.

Motor neurones are specialised nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord which control all of our movements.

Motor neurones are normally supported by other cells in the spinal cord and brain called glial cells. However, in MND glial cells can switch from being supportive to being toxic to motor neurones.

Gareth’s project will investigate how glial cells become toxic to motor neurones and what toxic signals they send to motor neurones. He will use stem cells, created from skin samples of MND patients, to grow motor neurones and glial cells in the lab. He will then study the damaging interactions between human glial cells and motor neurones.

Why is this important?

In order to develop treatments for MND, researchers need to know more about the processes involved in motor neurone loss in the disease. Greater knowledge of these processes will highlight targets for new treatments. It is important that some of this research is conducted on human cells so that we can increase the chances of new treatments being effective in patients.

Gareth hopes to determine how glial cells cause damage in motor neurones in MND. He aims to reveal the specific toxic signals sent by glial cells to motor neurons so that these signals can be targeted by new treatments for MND.

Find out more

For more information please contact:

Dr Gareth Miles
School of Psychology & Neuroscience
University of St Andrews
gbm4@st-andrews.ac.uk
Twitter: @NCMlab

Project title: Investigating deleterious signalling between astrocytes and motor neurones in a human iPSC-based model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

quote marks

“MND is a devastating disease that affects people in the prime of their lives. Sadly, there is presently very little we can do for people with MND. In order to develop treatments for MND, we need to learn a lot more about the disease through intensive research. Please consider supporting this critical research by donating to MND Scotland.”

Dr Gareth Miles

Dr Gareth Miles

Have a question? Contact us for more information.