With half a million people in the UK living with Alzheimer’s, The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and the Masonic Samaritan Fund have been united in their desire to support groundbreaking research that will help identify new targets for treating the disease, with a staggering donation of £175,000 to Alzheimer’s Research UK.
The expert research team, led by Prof Clemens Kaminski at the University of Cambridge, want to understand the chain of events that occur right at the beginning of the onset of the disease. The scientists hope the knowledge gained from this vital research will offer new clues for treatment.
Freemasons from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Cambridgeshire will present the generous donation cheque in Prof Kaminski’s laboratory on 20 January 2015.
Ian Wilson is Director of Fundraising at Alzheimer’s Research UK and will be attending the cheque presentation. He said:
“We are delighted that The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and the Masonic Samaritan Fund have chosen to support Alzheimer’s Research UK’s fight to defeat dementia.
“Research holds the answers to find ways to prevent, diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, but it is massively underfunded. This huge contribution will fund two years of pioneering research at the University of Cambridge. As an independent charity, Alzheimer’s Research UK is completely reliant on the generosity of donors and the creative challenges taken on by fundraisers in order to keep funding pioneering research.
“This marvellous donation will take us all closer to a world free of dementia.”
Alzheimer’s disease, which affects memory and thinking, is characterised by the build-up of two toxic proteins – amyloid and tau. These protein clumps, known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, cause damage to nerve cells and lead to the symptoms experienced by those living with Alzheimer’s. But we still don’t fully understand how these clumps of protein inflict damage on nerve cells. This generous support from the two Masonic charities will help Dr Kaminski and his team quite literally shine a light on the initial stages of Alzheimer’s.
Using a state-of-the-art microscope, Dr Kaminski can light up the building blocks of amyloid plaques and tau tangles and study their formation in nerve cells grown in a lab. They will study where they go, what they do and how they might interact with each other and nerve cells. Observing in fine detail how these proteins behave will provide clues to the roles they play in the brain and how they could contribute to the disease. Importantly, this work will identify mechanisms that could stop the spread of these toxic proteins and ultimately treat the disease. Rodney Wolverson, Provincial Grand Master of Cambridgeshire, will present the grants of £100,000 from the Masonic Samaritan Fund and £75,000 from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity at a cheque presentation in Professor Kaminski’s laboratory on 20 January.
Peter Sutton, Provincial Information Officer for Cambridgeshire Freemasons, said:
“The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and the Masonic Samaritan Fund are delighted to support Alzheimer’s Research UK in its mission to undertake pioneering research that brings us closer to a treatment for this cruel disease. “Alzheimer’s is a disease that touches so many of us, family, friends and colleagues. All Cambridgeshire Freemasons look forward to following the progress of Professor Kaminski and his team as they strive to understand the fundamental basics underlying Alzheimer’s disease.
“Freemasons throughout the country are proud to be part of the fight against dementia.”