Cambridge dementia scientists are set to benefit from nearly three quarters of a million pounds of new funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity.
The Cambridgeshire-based charity has pledged to support five new research projects in the city, employing a range of approaches to improve understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s, reveal how they cause the devastating symptoms of dementia, and move a step closer to new treatments for the condition. The announcement comes ahead of World Alzheimer’s Day on Monday 21 September.
The fresh funding is the latest in a series of awards, which has seen Alzheimer’s Research UK invest in over £9 million of research in Cambridge since the organisation was founded in the city over 20 years ago. This funding has provided backing to more than 70 projects in the city including a dedicated Drug Discovery Institute and the £2m Alzheimer’s Research UK Stem Cell Research Centre which opened in May.
New projects awarded funding include:
- A study looking at the link between Down’s syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Research studying how damage to small blood vessels in the brain leads to problems with memory and thinking.
- £305,204 for a project investigating how the brain’s wiring can go wrong in Alzheimer’s.
- Nearly £50,000 to build on promising findings from a previous Alzheimer’s Research UK-funded project highlighting the role of brain support cells in the disease.
- A £43,569 Pilot Project to examine whether proteins involved in cell transport could be a promising target for future Alzheimer’s treatments.
Prof Anthony Holland has been awarded £282,874 to investigate the link between Alzheimer’s disease and Down’s syndrome. The two-year project will see his team use innovative brain scanning techniques to look at changes in the brain and unravel the biological mechanisms that link the two conditions.
Prof Holland said:
“People with Down’s syndrome have a much higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than the general population. Our project aims to use brain scans to identify and track the very first changes happening in the brains of people with Down’s syndrome who are at the very earliest stages of developing Alzheimer’s. We hope the study will show us when these critical changes are happening, revealing a window of opportunity for future intervention with preventative treatments. We are delighted to have secured this funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK and we hope that this research will produce findings that not only benefit people with Down’s syndrome but everyone affected by Alzheimer’s.”
Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, said:
“It’s great to see Cambridge scientists playing such a key role in what may be the greatest medical challenge of our times. I welcome this new funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK and am very happy to add my support to the vital work they are doing. With dementia affecting so many lives and costing the economy over £26bn a year, finding new ways to tackle this devastating condition is more important than ever. With this in mind it is essential that the Government also plays its part and continues to increase spending on dementia research.”
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK said:
“Cambridge is a leading centre for dementia research and we are very pleased to be supporting the vital work of talented scientists like Prof Holland. Their research is building our understanding of the diseases that cause dementia and paving the way to treatments that could help the 850,000 people with the condition in the UK, over 8000 of whom are living in Cambridgeshire.
“Major advances have been made in research into cancer and AIDS research thanks to sustained investment over the last few decades. By boosting dementia research funding, we hope to see similar successes in the years to come. Alzheimer’s Research UK relies entirely on the generous support of members of the public who make all of this work possible. This new investment is a testament to their hard work, dedication and generosity.”