We are delighted to announce the launch of the new Oxford Centre for Neuroinflammation (OCNI), which aims to shed light on the causes of neurodegenerative diseases and uncover new treatment pathways. Headed by Professor Lars Fugger (MRC Human Immunology Unit), the centre will bring together biomedical, analytical and clinical expertise, to investigate the neuroinflammatory mechanisms that underpin a range of neurodegenerative diseases including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This will allow our researchers to develop new tools for faster diagnosis, more accurate prognosis and new targets for life-changing and life-saving treatments.
As part of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences the OCNI will be located within the MRC Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Within this rich multidisciplinary context the OCNI will capitalise on recent technological advances, including cutting edge experimental platforms, genetic microsurgery techniques and single-cell analysis methods, as well as on the on-going ‘big data’ explosion, which is enabling access to genetic, clinical and epidemiological information from hundreds of thousands of patients. By combining cutting-edge scientific approaches with clinically relevant data sets and with direct access to patient samples, the OCNI will be uniquely placed to drive forward medical research, interrogating the neuroinflammatory basis of neurodegenerative diseases.
Speaking ahead of the launch Professor Lars Fugger said ‘We hope that the opening of the OCNI will help accelerate our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases and thus pave the way for novel treatments for patients worldwide’. Funded by the Oak Foundation and private donors the centre will ensure that new findings within the field are translated back to real progress in the clinic. The centre will focus on four major goals:
- 1. Understanding how genetic information can be harnessed to help facilitate diagnosis
- 2. Investigating the interplay between environmental factors and disease
- 3. Establishing how to predicted drug efficacy
- 4. Ascertaining whether drugs already tested and approved can be re-purposed for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease. By addressing these questions, the centre will help to provide life changing therapeutic options to enable patients worldwide to live active and fulfilling lives.