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Achievement Award for Cardiff School of Biosciences Professor

26 May 2010

Professor Stephen Dunnett has been presented the Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement by the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair for his substantial research into the field of brain repair.

Professor Dunnett has been developing cell therapies in the brain over more than 30 years. The Brian Repair Group, which he leads jointly with the Professor of Clinical Neuroscience, Anne Rosser, is developing cell transplantation methods to replace and repair the cell loss caused by neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. Current drug treatments target the symptoms of cell loss, in contrast cell replacement therapy offers an approach to actually repair the damage and reverse the disease progress.

The Brain Repair Group combines cell preparation, surgical transplantation, molecular and anatomical analysis and behavioural assessment methods to investigate how cells can be effectively transplanted into the living brain to repair damage and alleviate the symptoms of neurological disease.

Their experimental and laboratory studies are now ready for application to the clinic with new patient trials planned to resume in 2011-2013 for both Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases. This will involve a multi-centre, international effort bringing together leading UK centres in Cardiff and Cambridge along with colleagues in Sweden, France, Germany and Canada.

Professor Dunnett said of receiving this award "Of course I am absolutely delighted that our work over 30 years to address the devastating problems of brain damage and disease is so well regarded by our American colleagues. We remain optimistic and excited about possibilities that advances that are taking place in experimental laboratory science may soon hold real hopes for new treatments for patients with these progressive neurological conditions"

Papers

Brooks, S.P. & Dunnett, S.B. Tests to assess motor phenotype in mice: a user's guide. Nat Rev Neurosci 10, 519-529 (2009).

Kelly CM, Precious SV, Scherf C, Penketh R, Amso NN, Battersby A, Allen ND, Dunnett SB, Rosser AE Neonatal desensitization allows long-term survival of neuronal xenotransplants without immunosuppression. Nat Meth 6, 271-273 (2009).

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