Scientific launch symposium success

24 June 2013

The Anne Rowling Clinic's Launch Symposium, "The Clinical Science of Regenerative Neurology" has been hailed as a great success.

Nearly 300 local, national and international delegates came to the fantastic setting of Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, to enjoy talks by fourteen world-renowned speakers and discuss science with their peers.

The event aimed to engage and inspire the next generation of researchers, and it was heartening to see plenty of lively discussion among the Professors, the PhD students and post-docs at the posters and on the terrace during the breaks.

Delegates enjoying the sunshineSally Temple presenting her findingsPoster judges listening to a presentation

The undergraduate essay competition, on the topic "Regenerative Neurology: the future" was won by Fraser Brown (University of Edinburgh). The poster competition was won by Veronique Miron (University of Edinburgh) for her work on oligodendrocyte differentiation during CNS remyelination. Fraser and Veronique were presented their prizes by Sir John Gurdon, Nobel Laureate.

Fraser Brown receives the essay prize from Sir John GurdonVeronique Miron receives the poster prize from Sir John GurdonOrganisers Denise Cranley, Mindy Quigley and Heather Anderson

We would like to thank all the companies and organisations that sponsored the meeting, and the many exhibitors who provided such interesting displays. There is a full list of sponsors here.


The programme comprised six sessions, on Advances in MS, Imaging, Clinical Trials, Stem Cells, Disease Modelling and Genes.

Click on "Expand" below to read the Abstract book.

The science covered the entire "bench to bedside" spectrum: from the genetics and fundamental disease mechanisms, to the challenges of modelling neurodegenerative conditions, to clinical trials and prospects for new therapies.

Several of the speakers highlighted the current paucity of effective treatments, particularly for motor neurone disease and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, and illustrated the time-consuming complexity of clinical trials, the results of which can sometimes then by obscured by individual variability, adverse effects and even patient expectation.

However it was exciting to hear of breakthroughs in understanding disease causation and mechanism, and of advances in using the latest imaging technology to observe the human nervous system or dynamic changes to cells in a dish. It was clear that the potential of stem cells - to model disorders and ultimately as a therapeutic tool - is enormous, and the challenge for the researchers is now to harness that potential in a safe and usable way. Moreover, there was much optimism about planned and ongoing clinical trials, many of which are large-scale multi-centre initiatives.

The overall message from the symposium was one of scientific inspiration and great hope for patients, albeit tempered by the knowledge that, in some cases, effective treatments are still some way off.

Clinic Directors and Speakers

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