The Lyndal Tree Foundation, based in Yorkshire, has awarded a generous £300,000 grant to one of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s scientists.
The family foundation decided to support a dementia research project by Dr Adrian Isaacs following the death of its founder, Alan Duttine OBE, in 2015, aged 70.
Alan, who was also the founder of Leeds-based Airedale International Air Conditioning, was originally told he had Alzheimer’s disease when he was just 58, but the diagnosis was later changed to frontotemporal dementia (FTD). This form sees the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain affected, which can alter language and personality. Alan’s language was severely impacted and he lost the ability to read, write and communicate through speech.
Alan’s family have been supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK since the Foundation’s inception in 2008. Lynda Duttine, Alan’s wife and a trustee of the Foundation, said:
“We are aware of how much more is needed to advance dementia research and wanted to help Alzheimer’s Research UK in not only supporting this, but also their aim of overcoming some of the misunderstandings and stigma around dementia. Alan was a hard-working man who achieved great success in his life but he was first and foremost a family man, and we’re proud to support such a worthy cause in his honour.”
The grant will go towards Dr Adrian Isaacs at University College London. Dr Isaacs is building on the landmark 2011 discovery of a faulty gene called C9orf72, which is the most common gene linked to FTD.
Dr Isaacs aims to unravel how this faulty gene leads to toxic proteins building up in nerve cells and identify how this causes damage. By increasing understanding in this area, the team will open doors for research into new treatments for frontotemporal dementia.
Dr Isaacs said:
“Genetic discoveries can reveal new research avenues to explore and indicate new ways to tackle diseases such as frontotemporal dementia. This is precisely what we are trying to achieve with our work – by understanding how these toxic proteins disrupt cellular processes, we can find clues to how to stop this damage from occurring.
“My hope is always that I am making important contributions to the understanding of frontotemporal dementia and that I am helping the efforts to find a treatment for this devastating disease. I am extremely grateful for the support of the Lyndal Tree Foundation, and knowing the Duttine family’s personal experience of FTD spurs me on in my work.”
There are around 47 million people living with dementia across the globe, a number which is expected to rise as the population ages.
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Dementia is the greatest medical challenge we face in society today, and research stands us the best chance of defeating the condition sooner. We are proud to fund world-leading scientists like Dr Isaacs as he makes pioneering discoveries that will bring us closer to a world free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.
“All our funding is driven by public donations such as that from the Lyndal Tree Foundation, so we’re incredibly grateful for their support in helping us to fund this important study.”
For further information about the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or go to www.alzheimersresearchuk.org