Leading scientists are now confident of finding an effective treatment within five years for the brutal degenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
This has been made possible by £50million of Government funding secured after the Sun-day Express launched our Fund The Fight To Cure MND crusade joining forces with leading patients, scientists and charities.
Then-prime minister Boris Johnson pledged the landmark funding on November 14, 2021.
With the two-year anniversary of this promise on Tuesday, father-of-three Rob, 41, who has been living with MND since 2019, said: “It is vital to keep banging the drum for the MND community. Time is not something that is on our side. The Government pledge is vital for taking research forward as efficiently as possible.
“I was pleased when I met Rishi Sunak this year. He gave me his personal commitment to continue to invest in MND research – we now need to get the job done.
“I remain confident that, together, we will put an end to MND.”
Last week Rob published a children’s book about friendship, With You Every Step, with his close friend Kevin Sinfield.
Former teammate Kevin, 43, coach of England’s rugby union team, will attempt his fourth challenge to support those affected by MND next month.
The former Leeds Rhino star, who has raised more than £8million with his previous three challenges, plans to run a marathon every day for a week in seven cities.
Kevin carried Rob over the finish line at the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon in May, after pushing his friend in a specially-adapted wheelchair.
During the official launch of the National MND Research Institute earlier this month, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said £35million of the £50million promised two years ago has been allocated.
He hopes the remaining £15million will go into “clinical research trials with patients” within the next 18 months.
Professor Ammar Al-Chalabi, co-director of the new institute, said this funding has made a real difference to research.
He said: “I think we can find an effective therapy for MND within the five-year research plan. A cure is a much bigger deal – that will take a long time, but a treatment that
is effective, definitely. There are still hurdles to overcome but it is working nicely, it is what we wanted.”
Tanya Curry, chief executive of the MND Association, said: “It feels like the funding is really coming through now and the profile of this disease has gone through the roof. It’s fabulous because it means more people are aware. People with MND do not have time to waste, so we have to get there fast.”
With You Every Step by Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield (Macmillan, £10) is out now. 50p from every copy sold will be split between the MND Association and Leeds Hospitals Charity. Visit expressbookshop.com or call Express Bookshop on 0203176 3832. Free UK P&P on orders over £25