Biomedical researchers at Lancaster University are hoping that crowd funding will be the key to unlocking some of the resources they need to develop an innovative drug with the potential to stop early-stage Alzheimer’s in its tracks.
The team from the Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, led by Professor David Allsop, have taken the unusual step of launching a crowd funding appeal to raise money to do pre-clinical human trials on the drug (R1-OR2-TAT) developed at Lancaster, because of their conviction that it offers hopes of a way of stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Professor Allsop and his team have taken a different approach to tackling the disease from that taken by developers of existing and failed Alzheimer’s drugs. Previous trials have produced encouraging results, but the drug needs to undergo pre-clinical development.
If Lancaster can find sufficient funding for these pre-clinical trials then we can progress to the clinical trial stage which MAC Clinical Research has agreed to carry out. If the drug passes regulatory hurdles, the ultimate aim is to give the drug to people with mild symptoms of memory loss.
"The aim of our team is to progress our candidate drugs into clinical use against Alzheimer's disease," says Professor Allsop. “Crowd funding will not raise all the money we need - but it will help and also gain us a good profile. It is unusual to have developed a drug with such potential in a university academic laboratory - it normally happens in a pharmaceutical environment.”
Professor Allsop - whose first degree was in Biology, followed by a PhD in Biochemistry - has been working to find a cure for Alzheimer’s for 30 years, inspired by his grandfather’s experience of the disease. He developed a keen interest in how it is initiated and how it develops and progresses in the brain. The first couple of decades of his career were spent trying to develop an understanding of how the disease affects the brain.
“It is a slow and painstaking process to develop an effective drug, but I would like the chance to make it happen for Alzheimer’s.”
Generous donations from the general public, alumni and Friends of Lancaster University have so far raised over £30,000.