Melbourne, May 9 (IANS) The founder of one of Australia’s most iconic clothing brands has made a generous donation to the University of Melbourne and collaborative researchers in the search for a cure of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
John Laidlaw, whose family created the well-known workwear brand Hard Yakka in the 1930s, made the $750,000 donation to begin clinical trials of a “promising” new drug to combat the disease which recently struck down his wife Betty, reports Xinhua news agency.
MND is a degenerative disease which impacts the brain’s ability to send messages around the body and eventually affects a victim’s movement, speech and breathing patterns.
The Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia, the research branch of MND Australia, on Monday announced a University of Melbourne-led team had won a competitive application process for the funding provided by Laidlaw.
In animal modelling and human-tissue testing, Australian researchers found the new drug — known as Copper ATSM — could slow the progression of symptoms which accompanied the onset of the debilitating disease.
Peter Crouch, a member of the small team who conducted the preliminary laboratory testing of the new MND drug, said the funding was an “important step,” opening the door for clinical trials to take place.
More than 2,000 Australians have the progressive, terminal neurological disease, according to MND Australia. The Australian group estimates around 350,000 people have MND worldwide, of whom 100,000 die annually.