Professor Mike Hanna, Consultant Neurologist at The Physicians' Clinic and Director of the Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, has recently accepted a Professorship at the University of Iowa. He is now Adjunct Professor in the Neurology Faculty.
The award was made to Professor Hanna in November 2013 when he attended the first event organised to celebrate the opening of the newly expanded world class Neuromuscular Division at the University of Iowa, which is now partnering with the Neuromuscular Centre at Queen Square.
The symposium explored the latest research evaluating how genetic diseases that impact on muscles and nerves can be diagnosed, managed and treated.
Professor Hanna gave the guest lecture on the second day of the symposium, focusing on genetic channelopathies in muscle disease.
Professor Mike Hanna (centre) received his University of Iowa Professorship from Iowa's Professor George Richerson (left) and Professor Mike Shy who heads the Neuromuscular Programme in the new Iowa centre.
Strengthening neuromuscular disease research partnerships
Professor Hanna is Director of the Centre of Neuromuscular Diseases at Queen Square, London. The Centre aims to translate science into new treatment for patients with muscle wasting neurological diseases including muscular dystrophies, neuropathies, mitochondrial diseases, motor neuron diseases and muscle channelopathies. The Centre has important links with major groups in USA including the North America Muscle Study Group
and the NIH CINCH Consortium for Clinical Trials in Human Channelopathies
, based at the University of Rochester. They also partner with the National Institutes of Health Rare Diseases Research Network
based in Bethesda, Maryland.
“A large number of muscle wasting neurological diseases are now recognised. Although individually quite rare, collectively they affect over 100,000 children and adults in the UK and often cause significant disability,” explains Professor Hanna.
“Delays in accurate diagnosis is unfortunately quite common,” he continues. “Many such conditions are genetic, such as muscular dystrophies and mitochondrial disease, but others, such as polymyositis, inclusion body myositis and motor neuron disease are not usually genetic and are acquired during life.”
Major progress in understanding fundamental mechanisms of these diseases is being made through the research efforts of Professor Hanna, his colleagues, and researchers in this field all over the world.
“This is a very exciting time, with good prospects for developing and testing new therapies, but they all have to be tested thoroughly. The rarity of individual diseases means that clinical trials often have to be multicentre and multi-nation. This new link with the major North American Neuromuscular Centre at Iowa will make new joint research trials that much easier,” he concludes.
The MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Disease
has more information on Professor Hanna’s research.