Research Projects

Identifying targets to tackle brain inflammation

KCL Headshots April 2016 at the Denmark Hill, London on the 27/04/2016. Photo: David Tett

Awarded to:
Dr Wendy Noble

Current award:

King's College London

1 October 2018 - 30 September 2021

Full project name:

Investigating P2X7-mediated inflammatory signalling in Alzheimer’s disease






Inflammation is thought to contribute to damage to nerve cells in Alzheimer’s disease.

Drugs that could reduce levels of brain inflammation are an important avenue of research towards new treatments for the disease.

In this project Dr Wendy Noble will study the role of a protein that is thought to regulate inflammation in Alzheimer’s and explore whether blocking this protein could help limit damage to nerve cells in the disease.

Why is this important?

Alzheimer’s is a multifaceted disease which involves a number of different brain changes that combine to cause damage to nerve cells.

While build up of the proteins amyloid and tau are the most studied of these brain changes, recent research has highlighted the important role of inflammation.

To have the best chance of developing effective new treatments, researchers need to explore ways to tackle all these harmful processes involved in the disease.

Dr Wendy Noble and her team at King’s College London have identified a protein, called P2X7, that helps regulate inflammation in Alzheimer’s.

They hope that by learning more about its role, and carefully examining the effects of blocking its action, they could pave the way to future treatments that limit harmful brain inflammation, protect nerve cells and improve the lives of people with Alzheimer’s.

What will they do?

Previous experiments by the team indicate that the P2X7 protein has a role in increasing inflammation that damages brain cells.

To verify that the protein plays a role in Alzheimer’s, they will measure levels of the P2X7 in brain tissue donated by people with Alzheimer’s disease compared to that from people who died without the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes dementia. It is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for about two-thirds of cases in older people.

what is alz image