Southampton gets £125k dementia research funding boost

21 September 2018

Scientists at the University of Southampton are set to benefit from a £125,000 funding boost from Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity. This new funding announcement comes on World Alzheimer’s Day, and as Alzheimer’s Research UK pledges to commit a further £250 million to dementia research by 2025.

Delphine Boche

Delphine Boche

Dementia affects over 850,000 people in the UK, including around 20,000 in Hampshire alone. The condition, most commonly caused by Alzheimer’s disease, affects people’s ability to remember, think, plan and communicate. Sadly, while there are treatments that can help with some of the disease symptoms, there is currently no way to slow or stop the physical disease attacking the brain.

With this new funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK, scientists in Southampton are working to understand the causes of Alzheimer’s and ways to treat the disease.

Inflammation is the body’s defence mechanism, a biological process that activates in response to damage or infection. While usually beneficial, we know that inflammation also plays a role in diseases like Alzheimer’s where it may contribute to damage to cells in the brain.

Prof Delphine Boche who will lead a £50,000 project at the University, said:

“Using human brain tissue, we will home in on a particular area of the brain, called the locus coeruleus to understand the role it plays in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The loss of nerve cells in the locus coeruleus occurs very early in the disease so we will further investigate the links between inflammation and nerve cell loss in this important brain region. The role inflammation plays in disease is a growing area and this groundbreaking project could lead to novel targets for potential Alzheimer’s drugs.”

Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We’re pleased to award new funding to researchers in Southampton, which will tackle some of the important unanswered questions about the brain and how it’s damaged in Alzheimer’s.

While awareness of dementia and disease like Alzheimer’s has grown in recent years, funding for research still lags behind other health conditions like cancer.

“There are around 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, with nearly 20,000 in Hampshire alone, therefore we must continue to invest in the most cutting-edge science to make discoveries that will make breakthroughs to transform lives today and in the future.

“We don’t receive any government funding for our research and rely on the generous support of our supporters who have made this project possible.  Any donation you can give will help us towards bringing about the first life-changing dementia treatment.”