MSA Trust

Research Hub

The MSA Trust is the principal funder in the UK of innovative and ground breaking research into Multiple System Atrophy. Every research project we fund is one step closer to our goal to find the cure for MSA.
Find out more below…

  • 20

    Number of research grants approved and funded by the trust since 2000

  • £2,200,000

    Total spent by the Trust so far on research grants

  • 24

    Number of potential therapies in trials or approved

How to get involved

Find out what studies are open and how to get involved in research…

Take part in a study

Research Explained

The aim of clinical research is to gather evidence that can be applied for improved understanding of health and healthcare, and the development of safe and effective treatments.

Research strategy

The MSA Trust is the main UK funder of research into multiple system atrophy. It is therefore critically important to ensure we are funding the best research and making the best use of the donations and other funding we receive.

Working Together

The MSA Trust welcome the opportunity to collaborate with many organisations, and we work with the NHS, other charities, academic and pharmaceutical researchers who tell us they value the opportunity to liaise with our members and the wider MSA community through our work.

Research News

Much of the MSA Trust funded research has been used in published papers around the world. It has led to the development of treatment therapies and further research into the different stages of MSA disease progression. In this section we will keep you up to date with new publications and blogs about research development.

Watch our interview with Professor John Hardy & Professor Clare Fowler

Research Timeline

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  • Shy-Drager Syndrome Identified

    First clinical description of Multiple System Atrophy (Shy, Drager).

  • Multiple System Atrophy descriptor

    Used to describe the different clinical forms (Graham and Oppenheimer).

  • Glial Cytoplasmic Inclusions (GCIs)

    GCIs identified as neuropathological signature of MSA (Papp, Lantos) 1st MSA diagnostic criteria published (Quinn).

  • A new charity is established

    In May The Autonomic Disorders Association the Sarah Matheson Trust (SMT) registers as a charity to provide info and help to anyone suffering from MSA, together with their carers. In 2010 the name changed to Multiple System Atrophy Trust (MSA Trust).

  • Research Advisory Panel

    The MSA Trust Research Advisory Panel (RAP) is formed: Sir Roger Bannister is appointed Chair.

  • α-synuclein identified

    As a constituent of GCIs (Spillantini) 1st MSA consensus statement on diagnosis (Gilman, Low et al).

  • European MSA Study Group

    founded by Wenning and Poewe.

  • Funding for a joint fellowship

    RAP approves funding for a joint fellowship at St Mary’s Hospital.

  • Quality Of Life Survey

    A one year grant for a ‘Quality of Life’ survey of people with MSA and their carers awarded to Dr Anette Schrag, Institute of Neurology, UCL. Click here to learn more

  • Unified MSA Rating Scale published (Wenning)

  • Study of p25a in GCI

    A one-year grant for ‘The role of p25a in Glial Cytoplasmic Inclusion’ awarded to Prof Tamas Revesz and Dr Janice Holton, UCL Institute of Neurology. Click here to learn more

  • A genetic study into MSA

    A three-year grant for ‘Comprehensive characterisation of those genetic risk factors that predispose to the development of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and those that lead to predominantly the parkinsonian, cerebellar and/or autonomic features in this disorder’ to Professor Henry Houlden, Consultant Neurologist, at National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery, UCL. Click here to learn more

  • 2nd MSA consensus diagnostic criteria published (Gilman et al)

  • The role of Oligodendroglia in MSA

    A two-year grant for ‘Central Role of Oligodendroglia in pathogenesis of multiple system atrophy’ to Dr Janice Holton, Honorary Consultant and Reader in Neuropathology at UCL. Click here to learn more

  • First drug trials in MSA begin (Bensimon; Dodel)

  • Studying the Alpha-synuclein filaments in MSA

    A one-year grant for ‘Testing a prion like strain concept for the alpha-synuclein filaments in glial cytoplasmic inclusions of multiple system atrophy’ awarded to Dr Shahin Zibaee. Click here to learn more

  • Structural & Metabolic Correlates study in MSA

    A two-year grant for ‘A study of structural and metabolic correlates of neurophysiological dysfunction in patients with MSA and IPD’ to Dr Chris Kobylecki, NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Neurology, University of Manchester

  • Studying Neuroinflammation in MSA

    A two-year grant for ‘Neuroinflammation in multiple system atrophy: A neuropathological study’ to Dr Janice Holton at UCL Institute of Neurology

  • The Role of CoQ2 in MSA

    A two-year grant for ‘The role of CoQ2 in multiple system atrophy’ awarded to Dr Janice Holton at UCL Institute of Neurology.

  • European MSA natural history study published (Wenning)

  • The UK MSA Network

    A longitudinal Clinical, Imaging, Biomarker Study and future resource for Multiple System Atrophy’ is established by Professor Henry Houlden at National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery, UCL.

  • Global Multiple System Atrophy International Research Roadmap Meeting

  • Developing a Pluripotent Stem Cell Model

    A three-year grant for ‘Development and characterization of a human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell derived oligodendrocyte model of MSA.’ To Professor John Hardy, Professor of Neuroscience at the Institute of Neurology, UCL. and winner of the Breakthrough prize in life Sciences.

  • Studying the degradation of alpha-synuclein in MSA

    A two-year grant for ‘Understanding the degradation of alpha-synuclein protein in Multiple System Atrophy’ to Professor Janice Holton Professor in Neuropathology, Director of Neuropathology, Queen Square Brain Bank, UCL Institute of Neurology

  • USA MSA natural history study (Low)

  • Clinical Research Training Fellowship

    MSA Trust in partnership with Association of British Neurologists launches the ABN MSA three-year Clinical Research Training Fellowship – Dr. Viorica Chelban is appointed at UCL Neurology Department, studying ‘Wet biomarkers in MSA’.

  • Multi Modal Imaging

    A two-year grant for ‘A multi modal imaging study to improve initial diagnostic accuracy for MSA’ to Professor Nicola Pavese, Professor of Clinical Neuroscience, Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre & Positron Emission Tomography Centre Newcastle University Campus for Ageing & Vitality.

  • Biomarkers In MSA

    A three-year grant for ‘Identification of Longitudinal Biomarkers in Multiple System Atrophy’ to Professor Henry Houlden, UCL

  • Selective Brain Regional Vulnerability

    A two-year grant for ‘Understanding selective brain regional vulnerability in multiple system atrophy’ to Professor Janice Holton, UCL.

  • Prospect M Study, UK

    A five-year grant awarded to continue the Prospect M Study across the UK, collecting and collating samples from people with MSA to aid further research, led by Professor Houlden, UCL.

  • The MSA Needs Survey

    MSA Trust launches a survey into the daily lives of people living with MSA. Click here to learn more

  • Continuation of Longitudinal Biomarkers Study

    A three-year grant for The Identification of Longitudinal Biomarkers of MSA to Professor Henry Houlden, UCL.

  • Dissecting the ALP in MSA

    A three-year grant for ‘Dissecting the role of the Autophagy-lysosome pathway (ALP) in Multiple System Atrophy pathogenesis’ to Dr Maria Xilouri, Centre of Clinical, Experimental Surgery, & Translational Research, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA).

  • Studying Different Brain regions in MSA

    A one-year grant for ‘Investigation of somatic DNA copy number gains of SNCA (alpha-synuclein) in different brain regions in MSA subtypes’ to Dr Christos Proukakis, Associate Professor, Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences, Queen Square Institute of Neurology, UCL.

  • Studying DNA Methylation in MSA

    A two-year grant for ‘Unravelling the molecular pathology of multiple system atrophy through an integrative approach to alterations in DNA methylation, transcripts and proteins’ to Dr Conceicao Bettencourt Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, UCL.

  • Second ABN MSA Clinical Research Training Fellowship

    In partnership with ABN – Dr. Yee Yen Goh is appointed at IoN, UCL, studying ‘MSA – Identification of Longitudinal Biomarkers to Inform Clinical Trials’.