Christopher Shaw leads motor neuron research
Professor Christopher Shaw, Professor of Neurology at Kings College London and Otago University graduate in Medicine (1984), is to co-lead a team to clone embryos to study motor neuron disease, in particular those patients whose condition cannot be linked to genes already identified as causing the disease. He will be working with Professor Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, the creator of Dolly the sheep. Motor neuron disease is an umbrella term for a collection of illnesses of varying severity that all lead to loss of muscle function because of nerve failure. The most common is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. About 10 percent of those stricken live for a decade or more, like celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking. However, most die within five years of the onset of symptoms. Drugs prolong life by three to six months. Of about four neurology professors in Britain, four are New Zealanders.