Motor Neurone Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia


Research into neurogenerative disorders and fronto-temporal dementia (FTD) at NeuRA is led by Professor Matthew Kiernan AM FAA and supported by a team of multi-disciplinary researchers who are dedicated to advancing research in neurodegeneration by focusing on early detection, uncovering novel treatments and deepening our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that underpin this neurodegenerative condition. The team aims to increase our understanding of neurological disease, discover effective treatments and ultimately, find ways to stop the progression of these terrible conditions.

Research focus areas

The group's investigative efforts span a wider spectrum of conditions, from motor neuropathy and inflammatory neuropathy through to neurodegenerative disorders including motor neuron disease, dementia (Alzheimer disease, FTD and vascular dementia),in addition to exploring multiple facets of healthy ageing. This wide-ranging approach by the multidisciplinary team positions the group at the forefront of brain research, particularly understanding and preventing disease.

The overarching goals of Professor Kiernan’s group are to enhance and accelerate the diagnostic process for neurological disorders, to understand the pathophysiological processes behind disease, and to introduce new therapies into clinical practice.

The research team incorporates an experienced clinical trials unit focused on investigating potential neuroprotective drug treatments to thereby slow disease progression.

Our research discoveries

This work has lead to discoveries of the mechanisms behind the disease and its progression, the translation of new therapies into clinical care, earlier diagnosis and better treatments, including the introduction of riluzole and edaravone therapies.

Separately, the team has identified new diagnostic biomarkers and better ways to assess disease progression. A key focus has been to identify the early signs of disease occurring in the brain before physical symptoms emerge, which in turn has led to new treatments option and established new guidelines for diagnosis, including the Gold Coast consensus criteria for MND/ALS, in partnership with key stakeholders such as the World Federation of Neurology.