Our Research

Below are just some of the areas in which we desperately need to raise funds for:

Development of new treatments

Alzheimer's disease is caused by the clumping together of 'sticky' molecules in the brain called Abeta-peptides.  These small molecules are produced in nerve cells by two enzymes which snip them out of a much larger protein called APP. Thankfully, in a healthy brain, this pathway is very minor as a third enzyme called alpha-secretase can cut the APP molecule in the middle of the part that would otherwise give rise to the Abeta-peptides. Thus, alpha-secretase, is the friendly enzyme in the brain that prevents formation of the intact Abeta-peptides. Consequently, our laboratory is looking at how we might promote the activity of this enzyme as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease. We also look at how APP itself controls the growth and division of cells in the body.

This has led to the development of a new drug by Professor David Allsop that we are fundraising for to progress to clinical trials.

Drug testing

Professor Holscher is developing novel drugs that show great promise to treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Two of these drugs are already in clinical trials, testing them on patients. New and improved versions of these drugs have recently been developed and these now need to be tested in the lab.  It costs £10,000 for the lab chemicals and staff time to carry out this testing.

Existing drugs

We are looking to fund research into a group of drugs called 'GLP-1 mimetics'. Research at Lancaster University has found that these drugs, which are normally used to treat Type 2 diabetes, are effective in slowing down the deterioration of brain activity seen in Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. We would like to look at how the drugs affect the way in which a protein called APP is broken down in the nerve cells of the brain. This is particularly important as different types of APP fragments can either poison nerve cells or protect them, thereby having a profound impact on the health of our brains.

Medicine development process:

Medicine development is a very costly and time consuming process with eight stages from Pre-discovery up until the medicine becoming available for patients. We are currently at the 'Drug Discovery' stage. This involves researchers selecting a 'target', such as a gene or protein, then searching for a molecule, or compound, that may act on the 'target' to alter the disease. On average this stage takes around 4.5 years costing £436 million pound and requiring 5,000-10,000 candidates to achieve approval. Our next stage will be Pre-Clinical Testing.  

(Facts taken from ibpi.org.uk)