Dementia research brain banks receive vital funding boost

Alzheimer's Research UK pledges continued support for brain banking in the UK to help defeat dementia.

Posted on 25th April 2013

Dementia research in the UK has recieved a £3.5million boost as brain banks across the UK secure continued funding for their vital work. The funding is allowing people to sign up as brain donors to aid groundbreaking research into a cure for dementia.

Brains for Dementia Research, the organisation which co-ordinates the banks, is funded jointly by Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society in conjunction with the Medical Research Council. Experts are now calling for more people in Manchester, Newcastle and Cardiff to pledge to donate their brain to increase the resources available for this vital work.

Dementia is a progressive and eventually terminal condition characterised by cell death which affects over 64,000 people these in areas alone. There is currently no cure. Brain donation is vital for research into finding a cure, developing treatments and learning more about dementia as the unique conditions of the human brain can’t be recreated in a lab. Despite this, research commissioned by Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society showed that less than a third of people (31 per cent) are aware that they can donate their brain to dementia research.

People wishing to find out more or to make a pledge can call the Brains for Dementia Research Coordinating Centre at King’s College London on 020 7848 8377 or email bdr.office@kcl.ac.uk

Professor Paul Francis, Director of Brains for Dementia Research said:
“Britain has some of the finest scientific brains in the country working on defeating dementia but without human tissue research will stall. Within 10 years, one million people will have dementia so finding a cure and developing more effective treatments needs to be the top of the agenda.

“People with and without dementia over the age of 65 can help by making the important pledge to donate their brain once they pass on. This priceless gift will support our researchers in conducting innovative experiments which will ultimately deliver a world without dementia.”

There are six Brains for Dementia Research centres in the UK. In addition to Newcastle, centres are based in London, Oxford, Manchester, Bristol and Cardiff. The network was founded in 2009 to establish a gold standard for brain tissue banking and shares best practice, common standards and ensures quality amongst the banks. Nationwide, new funding from the charities involved amounts to £3.5million.

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