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Tissue Bank - Scientist preparing brain tissue for analysis

MS Society and Parkinson’s UK digital ‘brain bank’

MS Society and Parkinson’s UK have partnered to provide £3m to help create a new digital ‘brain bank’ at Imperial College London’s tissue bank.

The tissue bank allows people to donate their brain or spinal cord tissue to research after their death. This allows scientists across the world to access high definition images of brains donated digitally, which the charities hope will make research into conditions easier.

The charities are contributing £1.54m each over the next five years to the project. The tissue bank will also have a 3D virtual reality interactive section to allow people to explore a virtual brain, which the charities hope will help potential donors understand how the bank works and what happens to donated tissue. Other research will look at how genetics affect the development of MS or Parkinson’s, and the bank will try to link genetic information to tissue samples.

Dr Sorrel Bickley, head of biomedical research at the MS Society, said: "The MS Society tissue bank has been vital in improving our understanding of MS and finding treatments for some people with the condition. But our top priority now is finding treatments to slow or stop MS for everyone.

"We can see a future where nobody needs to worry about MS getting worse, but for that to happen we urgently need to find treatments that repair myelin – the protective layer that surrounds our nerves, which is damaged in MS – stop inflammation in the brain, and protect nerves from damage. This funding will allow researchers to operate as effectively as possible, and ultimately help us stop MS faster."

Source: MS Society