Brain Repair

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Neurology


The Cooperative in Brain Repair has used MRC funding for four posts to provide the infrastructure that has brought together 16 research groups to form a research centre with a critical mass of scientists working in the field of Brain Repair. The aim of the Cooperative is to develop treatments for chronic and crippling diseases of the nervous system. At present, when the brain or spinal cord are damaged, no repair takes place. This means that patients who suffering stroke, head injury, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or progressive damage through Parkinson?s disease, Alzheimer?s disease or other conditions do not regain full neurological function. Many of these patients live for many years. The science of Brain Repair, which has sprung from developmental biology, is starting to develop treatments that can repair some of this hitherto permanent damage to the nervous system. In the coming years these treatments will revolutionise the practice of neurology, and the lives of those with chronic neurological damage.

Technical Summary

The main target diseases of the Cooperative are:

Neurodegenerative disease Parkinson?s disease (PD)
Huntington?s disease (HD)
Dementias affecting the cortex and subcortical regions
Alzheimers disease (AD)

Demyelinating disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Congenital disorders

Acute CNS damage Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
Head Injury

To develop treatments for these diseases the Cooperative will continue to conduct research into the following basic technologies:

1. Mechanisms of cell death, neurodegeneration and the development of neuroprotective
2. Mechanisms of axon degeneration and axon protection
3. Stem cell and precursor pathology
4. Axon regeneration
5. Plasticity
6. Stem cell biology
7. Remyelination
8. Neuronal transplantation
9. Biomarkers of disease
10. Clinical applications


10 25 50
Guideline Title Guidelines in spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons
Description guidelines
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in clinical guidelines
Impact Improved clinical trials methodology
Description reviews
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in clinical reviews
Impact Advancing treatment of neurological conditions
Title clinical database 
Description Clinics in Parkinson's, Huntington's , MS, stroke 
Type Of Material Biological samples 
Year Produced 2006 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Improved understanding of disease progression and treatment 
Description clinical 
Organisation Sanofi
Department Genzyme Corporation
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Suppression of immune system for prevention of multiple sclerosis Parkinsons clinic of incident patients Huntington's clinic
Collaborator Contribution Mutinational groups to develop treatments for MS, PD, HD
Impact International phase 3 trail for prevention of multiple sclerosis Establishment of different patterns of Parkinsons disease International consortium for transplantation in Parkinson's Embryonic transplants for Huntington's
Title Alpha9 integrin in axon regeneration 
Description Transfection with alpha9 integrin promotes axon regeneration 
IP Reference WO2007083133 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2007
Licensed No
Impact none yet
Title Microchannel prosthesis for nerve repair 
Description A microchannel regenerative nerve prosthesis for peripheral nerve repair and recording 
IP Reference WO2009090398 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2009
Licensed No
Impact A new concept in nerve repair
Title chondroitinase in spinal cord injury 
Description Chondroitinase promotes plasticity and recovery after spinal cord injury 
IP Reference JP2010132682 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2010
Licensed Yes
Impact Progression towards clinical trials
Title PD tests 
Description Various biomarkers for Parkinson's, including motor tasks, eye movement tasks, cognitive assessment 
Type Diagnostic Tool - Non-Imaging
Current Stage Of Development Initial development
Year Development Stage Completed 2009
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact Improved staging of Parkinsons 
Title interface 
Description A new regenerative microchannel interface for nerve repair 
Type Therapeutic Intervention - Cellular and gene therapies
Current Stage Of Development Initial development
Year Development Stage Completed 2008
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact still in development 
Description Many audiences 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Many appearances by members of the consortium on radio, TV, patient groups, schools, general public

Awareness of progress
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010