The Midlands receives £100k boost to dementia research

Posted by ap507 at Sep 03, 2014 11:40 AM |
University of Leicester involved in research

 Issued by Alzheimer's Research UK on Wednesday 3 September 2014

Alzheimer’s Research UK has increased support for dementia researchers in the Midlands by doubling investment in its Midlands Network Centre.

The UK’s leading dementia research charity has announced increased investment in a Research Network across the UK, bringing scientists together to tackle this devastating condition. Alzheimer’s Research UK will support 15 Network Centres of scientific excellence across the UK, including a centre in the Midlands, uniting researchers from the Universities of Birmingham, Aston, Warwick, Leicester, Loughborough and Nottingham. More than 80 researchers across the institutions will benefit from £100,000 over two years. The investment is part of the charity’s £100m Defeat Dementia fundraising campaign, announced in June by the Prime Minister.

With calls from the G8 Dementia Summit in December for increased collaboration in dementia research, the Alzheimer’s Research UK Research Network brings together scientists from a variety of disciplines, throughout the UK. Teams of scientists who would not normally encounter each other are able to pool their expertise in projects that span the length of the country.

Nearly 90,000 people across the Midlands have dementia and the Alzheimer’s Research UK Network has been building since 1998 with the aim to tackle this problem, supporting scientists to ultimately find a cure for the condition. The Midlands Network Centre was first formed in 2006 and has since gone from strength to strength. Scientists working in Nottingham are a prime example of the importance of collaborative research, participating in large scale, UK-wide genetic studies, leading to the discovery of key Alzheimer’s risk genes.  This increased funding will allow teams in the area to pursue new ideas through conference travel bursaries, equipment grants and support for small innovative projects.

Besides providing a focal point for researchers, the Midlands Network Centre will help the local community understand the progress being made in dementia research. Every year, the Midlands Network Centre hosts a free public meeting, an informal event for the public to hear about the latest research findings. These events foster dialogue between researchers and those touched by the condition, providing scientists with insights into dementia and inspiring new approaches to research.

Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We will not find a cure for dementia by working in isolation. Investment in our Research Network is essential to bring scientists together to share ideas and resources. Supporting grass-roots research is crucial to lay strong foundations for larger studies and we are pleased to be able to invest in people and ideas that could provide the breakthrough moments we are all desperate for.

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is leading the way in terms of investment in research, but it is also crucial that we foster collaborations – locally, nationally and internationally. The Research Network will unite researchers across the UK in tackling dementia from different angles, in order to meet our aim to defeat dementia sooner.”

Dr Latha Velayudhan, Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Department of Health Sciences at the  University of Leicester and Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust said: “This is great news. A merged centre and increased investment would have greater impact, with increased opportunities for collaborations, sharing of ideas and expertise, which are essential to ensure high quality research and quicker efforts towards future therapies for dementia."

Dr Eric Hill, lecturer at Aston University and Co-ordinator of the Midlands Network Centre, said: “This increased investment in the local dementia research community is essential for us to carry out the collaborative research that is needed to tackle dementia.

Researchers in the area are focussing on a wide range of projects; from studying nerve cell damage in a dish to using brain banks to understand the genetics underlying Alzheimer’s. The Network brings together scientists with a range of expertise, to share ideas and findings and foster new partnerships. The great benefit of the Alzheimer’s Research UK Research Network is that it allows scientists to place their findings in the wider context of dementia research, and draw on other people’s expertise to make the journey from interesting idea to patient benefit that much easier.”

Mick Moody, a Champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK, from Newark, lost his beloved wife Elaine to Alzheimer’s disease in 2013 aged 59. He said:

“Elaine was just 52 when she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2006. We were shocked to learn how little money is available for research into Alzheimer’s disease which is why as a family we decided to do all we can to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“Despite losing much of her independence, Elaine found she could run and in 2008 became the first woman with Alzheimer’s to complete the London Marathon, but two years later she struggled to walk and needed 24-hour attention. New treatments are vital so that others don’t have to experience what my family has been through. It’s great to see this money being made available for dementia experts here in the Midlands; research is the answer to defeating this terrible disease.”

For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org

Ends

For further information, or to speak with a scientist, a case study or spokesperson from Alzheimer’s Research UK, please contact the Alzheimer’s Research UK press office on 0300 111 5 666 or email press@alzheimersresearchuk.org  

Notes to editors:

  • Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading charity specialising in finding preventions, treatments and a cure for dementia. To help us defeat dementia, donate today by visiting www.alzheimersresearchuk.org or calling 0300 111 5555. We are currently supporting dementia research projects worth over £22 million in leading Universities across the UK.
  • We rely on donations to fund our vital dementia research. To help us defeat dementia, donate today by visiting www.alzheimersresearchuk.org or calling 0300 111 5555.
  • We are currently supporting dementia research projects worth over £22 million in leading Universities across the UK.
  • Our Defeat Dementia campaign, a pledge to raise £100 million in five years to grow the research field and accelerate progress towards new treatments and preventions, was announced by the Prime Minister at the G8 legacy event on 19 June 2014. For more information visit www.dementiablog.org/defeat-dementia
  • The 15 Network Centres are located in:
    • Bristol & Bath
    • Cambridge
    • Cardiff
    • Imperial College London
    • King’s College London
    • Manchester
    • The Midlands
    • Newcastle
    • Northern Ireland
    • Oxford
    • Scotland
    • The South West
    • The South Coast
    • University College London
    • Yorkshire

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