Bradford researchers taking action against dementia get £50k boost

16 May 2022

Dementia Action Week 2022

Dr Jurgen Muller from the University of Bradford has received £50,000 to support research looking at biological pathways that could protect the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. The funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK comes during Dementia Action Week (16-20 May) as part of a £2 million package of new research funding right across the UK.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia affecting around 600,000 people in the UK today. The disease involves a build-up of two key proteins, called amyloid and tau, in and around nerve cells in the brain. Research also shows that increased levels of brain inflammation occur during the disease. Inflammation is typically a beneficial process but in Alzheimer’s it starts to go awry and impact our brain cells’ ability to function normally.

While many molecules in the brain are involved in inflammation, Dr Jurgen Muller hopes to find a way to protect the brain cells and delay or halt these destructive processes before they have caused too much damage to the brain.
In this Alzheimer’s Research UK-funded Pilot Project, Dr Muller is looking at a specific molecule called ERK5 that helps protect cells in a part of the brain that controls our memory and thinking.

Dr Jurgen Muller from the University of Bradford said:
“Funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK will allow me to embark on my project looking at how brain cells function and survive when ERK5 is turned on and off. This will test whether having active ERK5 protects brain cells from amyloid and tau during Alzheimer’s disease.

“The hope is this research could ultimately lead to the development of novel strategies that use the ERK5 pathway to provide protection from Alzheimer’s.”

 

Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Dementia affects nearly one million people in the UK including around 60,000 in Yorkshire alone. The majority are likely to be living with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia, and a disease without a cure.
“By unpicking the complex interactions that happen in the brain in Alzheimer’s, vital research underway in Bradford is helping to bring us one step closer to finding a new treatment that can stop this disease from developing.
“This Dementia Action Week it’s not only researchers that can make a difference when it comes to dementia research. We urgently need people living with the condition and also healthy volunteers to sign up to take part in vital research studies. To register your interest and Join Dementia Research you can call our team on 0300 111 5111 or email infoline@alzheimersresearchuk.org”

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