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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
Rowling gives boost to MS centre
JK Rowling
JK Rowling is the patron of the MS Society Scotland
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has made a "major" cash donation to help set up a multiple sclerosis research centre in Edinburgh.

The multi-millionaire writer's undisclosed donation will help fund the 2.5m project at Edinburgh University.

The fight against the debilitating disease has been close to Rowling's heart since her mother died from the condition at the age of 45.

Rowling said she hoped the new facility would find a cure.

The author, who is the patron of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland, said: "It means a great deal to me to be able to provide support for this much-needed research centre.

It is an extremely exciting step forward in the ongoing battle to try to unlock the mysteries of MS
JK Rowling

"It is an extremely exciting step forward in the ongoing battle to try to unlock the mysteries of MS and which will hopefully, one day, lead to a cure."

MS is a condition of the central nervous system that impairs the brain's ability to transmit instructions to the muscles.

Scotland has the highest prevalence of MS in the world, with about 10,400 sufferers, and it is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults.

The new MS centre will be housed at The Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the university's medical school, next to the city's new Royal Infirmary.

Its eight staff members will investigate how to repair the damaged parts of the nervous system and prevent further deterioration.

Combined expertise

The centre, which should be up and running by the end of the year, will also see scientists and clinicians collaborate in "bench to bedside" research, bridging the gap between scientific developments and on-the-ground patient treatments.

Organisers said the centre would be the first in the UK to adopt such an approach.

Professor Peter Brophy, of the Centre for Neuroscience Research at the university, welcomed the funding announcement.

He said: "At the new centre we will be able to draw together strands of expertise to better understand MS, and to develop new treatments so that we can take advantage of the strong neuroscience base in Edinburgh."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See how the centre aims to help MS sufferers



SEE ALSO:
Rowling attacks MS 'neglect'
19 Nov 03 |  Scotland
Author speaks of 'MS scandal'
16 Nov 03 |  Entertainment
Rowling backs MS research
04 Dec 02 |  Scotland


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