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Press release


  • 16 January 2008

Biochemists receive major funding to develop Alzheimer’s research


University of Sussex scientists have received £590,000 to further their research into how to block the formation of toxic particles in the brain that lead to Alzheimer's disease.

It is well-known that a build up of the protein, amyloid, in the brain, leads to the development of plaques - protein clumps - associated with Alzheimer's disease. The plaques occur when the proteins form fibres that accumulate in the brain. These proteins also form soluble particles that are highly toxic to brain cells and may cause the brain deterioration in Alzheimer's.

The Sussex researchers, who have been given £590,000 by the Alzheimer's Research Trust to fund the project, will work with colleagues from Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (Belgium VIB), and the Medical Research Council, to try to determine how to prevent the build up of these toxic particles. The work involves synthesising amyloid in a laboratory to understand its properties.

Lead researcher Dr Louise Serpell, a reader in biochemistry at the University of Sussex, said, "We are trying to gain a better understanding of how amyloid exerts its toxic effects on the brain. From this, we hope to find treatments that can interfere with the generation of the toxic particles. "Our research has the potential to identify new targets for developing drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease."

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said, "We are committed to furthering our understanding of Alzheimer's disease and improving the quality of life for the 700,000 people affected by dementia in the UK, a figure that will double within a generation. "World class research such as this will bring us closer to trying to prevent others having to suffer from this disease in the future."

Notes for editors

·    For more information, contact the University of Sussex Press Officers: Jacqui Bealing and Maggie Clune, 01273 678888, press@sussex.ac.uk

·    Alzheimer's Research Trust Press Office:  01223 843304  www.alzheimers-research.org.uk/news/

·   The Alzheimer's Research Trust, based in Cambridgeshire, is the UK's leading research charity for dementia. It relies on donations from the public to fund its vital research. The charity provides free information to the public on Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and the treatments currently available: phone 01223 843899; www.alzheimers-research.org.uk

 

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