Motoring neurone disease into the spotlight

18 April 2019

The wheels are in motion to help find a cure for motor neurone disease, following the announcement of a new research grant to The University of Queensland.

A red vintage truck named ‘Roxy’ rolled into the Great Court to celebrate the partnership between National Transport Insurance (NTI) and the MND and Me Foundation, which is supporting motor neurone disease (MND) research at UQ.

UQ School of Biomedical Sciences Associate Professor Trent Woodruff was awarded the grant to continue his research into the immune response of MND. 

“We study how we think the immune system goes awry in diseases like MND, and the ways we can interrupt this process and reduce the progression of this disease,” Dr Woodruff said.

“This funding provides us with the ability to conduct research that is essential to progress new therapies to clinical trials.

“Our research has shown there is an immune protein in the body which acts as a dampener in people who have this disease.

“The funding has allowed us to identify ways in which we can therapeutically target this receptor as a potential treatment option.

“MND research is where cancer research was 20 years ago. With continued funding and research, we may make great strides in tackling this disease and eventually eradicating it,” he said.

Raffle ticket sales from NTI’s Truck Restoration Series have so far raised over $55,000 for motor neurone disease research.

“Further research will allow us to investigate the receptor we have identified, and its contribution to MND,” Dr Woodruff said.

“The funding is used to investigate in both a lab setting and in patients diagnosed with the condition, so we can try and find ways to treat this disease in the future,” he said.

NTI established the Truck Restoration Series following the passing of their late CEO from MND.

NTI Chief Executive Officer Tony Clark said the next phase of research funding was bittersweet for the organisation.

“We’re extremely proud to see our vision of establishing a research grant come to fruition,” Mr Clark said.

“Feedback from the community has been astounding. They appreciate knowing exactly where their contributions are going, and what the grant represents – not just a commitment, but a legacy.”

The current prize truck is a vintage 1946 Ford Jailbar.

Tickets are available at

Media: Associate Professor Trent Woodruff,, +61 7 33652924; Faculty of Medicine Communications,, +61 7 3365 5118.