A former footballer is among people in the north-east to sign up for a “pioneering” clinical trial of treatments for motor neurone disease.
The organisation is funding the trials along with the Euan MacDonald Centre, substantial private donations, and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
The trial will involve tests of potential treatments on people with the condition in the north-east.
Unlike other trials, which test medicines one at a time, MND-SMART involves testing multiple drugs – and MND Scotland says this could speed up the time it takes to find medicines which could slow, stop or even reverse the condition’s progress.
Among those who have already signed up is former 42-year-old footballer Martin Johnston.
The former Cove Rangers, Peterhead, Elgin and Brechin striker was diagnosed with MND in 2018.
Martin, from Kingswells, said: “The main goal is to find a cure but if that can’t happen right away, we will still maybe find some sort of treatment which makes a difference.
“There are no real treatments out there at the moment and even if we can’t find a cure just now, we would like to find something which can slow the progression.
“It’s a huge boost to me to see the amount of research that is going on, and it is great to be involved.”
MND Scotland has invested £1.5 million into the project, and tests are already being conducted in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Salford.
Dr Callum Duncan, the consultant neurologist at ARI who is leading the study, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming people into the MND-SMART trial.
“This is the first wide-scale MND clinical trial in years and so is a very exciting step forward amongst hugely challenging times in healthcare.”
Throughout January Martin is also encouraging people to take part in Doddie Aid, a mass-participation event in the name of former Scotland rugby star Doddie Weir, to help fund more research into finding a cure for MND.
Martin said: “So far £500,000 has been raised which is amazing. So many people have signed up to take part.
“It’s that sort of thing which allows trials like MND-SMART to take place. Without the money events like that raise there wouldn’t be as much research into treatments and cures.
“It’s great people are getting involved because it is making a difference.”