8 September 2014 16:22

Lancaster University will play an important part in the region’s efforts to tackle dementia.

Alzheimer’s Research UK will support 15 Network Centres of scientific excellence across the UK, including a centre in Manchester, uniting researchers from the Universities of Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster.

Nearly 80 researchers at the three institutions will receive a much-needed boost in investment, benefiting from £80,000 over two years, with continued support pledged for the coming years. The investment is part of the charity’s £100m Defeat Dementia fundraising campaign, announced in June by the Prime Minister.

Alzheimer’s Research UK has increased its North West Network Centre, which supports pioneering dementia researchers across the region. Teams of scientists who would not normally encounter each other are able to pool their expertise in projects that span the length of the country.

More than 88,000 people in the North West have dementia and the Alzheimer’s Research UK Network has been building since 1998 with the aim to tackle this problem, supporting scientists to ultimately find a cure for the condition.

David Allsop, Professor of Neuroscience Lancaster University, said:  “We have two main aims at Lancaster. These are to find new methods for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, and to develop better ways of treating the disease. Both of these go ‘hand in glove’ because the way forward will be to identify the disease at an early stage, before too much irreversible damage has been done to the brain, and then intervene to slow or halt its progression.”

Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We will not find a cure for dementia by working in isolation. Investment in our Research Network is essential to bring scientists together to share ideas and resources. Supporting grass-roots research is crucial to lay strong foundations for larger studies and we are pleased to be able to invest in people and ideas that could provide the breakthrough moments we are all desperate for.”

Prof Nigel Hooper, dementia researcher at the University of Manchester and Co-ordinator of the Manchester Network Centre, said: “The Manchester Network Centre is an incredibly important resource for dementia researchers in the North West, being unique in its ability to link dementia scientists not just in their home institutions but around the country.”