£600k research boost for dementia studies at University of Sheffield

A dementia research charity has committed over £610,000 to fund pioneering dementia research projects in Sheffield.

Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 7:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 1:10 pm
£600k boost for dementia research

The money, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, has been earmarked for two upcoming studies at University of Sheffield - to take a closer look at the connection points between nerve cells in the brain, and for pioneering research into ‘zombie,’ or ‘senescent,’ cells.

Prof Stephen Wharton, from the University of Sheffield, said: “These so-called zombie cells are not well understood in dementia. They had once been seen as harmless bystanders, but recent research has strongly implicated them in damage to the brain.

“By comparing levels of these cells to brain changes involved in diseases like Alzheimer’s, and studying the molecular processes affected by these cells, we will gain crucial new understanding of the role they play in dementia.

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“Protecting the brain from damage is the key goal for researchers working on all the different diseases that cause dementia. This research could reveal new targets for drugs that help to protect the brain from damage and allow people to live longer free from the devastating impact of dementia.”

Dr De Vos will carry out the study into connection points, while also taking a closer look at the role of the cell’s waste disposal system during frontotemporal dementia, the most common cause of dementia in people under the age of 50.Dr Sara Imarisio, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, added: “Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK including around 60,000 in Yorkshire alone. Pioneering research underway in Sheffield is helping to unpick the complex causes of dementia and driving progress towards new treatments.”