UK needs to remain at the pinnacle of neuromuscular research

Ministers have faced calls from the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK to ensure that this country retains its reputation for innovation and scientific research even after leaving the EU.

There have been concerns in some quarters that Britain’s departure from the bloc may undermine the work that is being done to trial and develop new treatments for the muscle-wasting disease and other chronic conditions.

This month, the Prime Minister Theresa May said that Britain had a proud history of spearheading and supporting “cutting edge” research and, that as part of her negotiating strategy, she would continue to press for close collaboration with our European partners.

Organisations such as Muscular Dystrophy UK welcomed the fact that science was named among her priorities, but they will now want assurances that Mrs May and her ministers follow through on their commitment to keep the nation at the forefront of these endeavours.

Robert Meadowcroft, the charity’s chief executive, said: “European and worldwide co-operation is crucial in the neuromuscular and rare disease field, in relation to both research development and standards of care.

“We urge the Government to take the necessary steps to ensure that the UK continues to be the best place for science and innovation and to strengthen and streamline approval processes for emerging treatments at the earliest opportunity.”

The UK has previously played a critical role in the European Reference Networks (ERNs) for rare disease and in particular has taken the lead in neuromuscular conditions – with significant research being completed at the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre in Newcastle.

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