Last updated Sep 2, 2015
UK Biobank has joined other world leaders in research at the launch of the Dementias Platform UK, a powerful new tool for studying dementia.
The ground-breaking, multi-million pound collaboration between industry and academia has been established by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and bolstered by government funding of £53 million.
UK Biobank will be one of the key resources used to help scientists:
- Get a better understanding of who is at risk of developing dementia and why the progression of the disease varies from person to person;
- Explore the anatomy of the disease to help develop new medicines and enable more accurate diagnosis
- Look into how existing drugs which are used to treat other conditions might help to treat the progression of dementia and improve symptoms.
The study uses health and lifestyle information collected from UK Biobank participants and people belonging to a number of other studies. In total scientists will be able to study information provided by more than two million people over the age of 50, as well as data from laboratory measures.
The platform will create the world’s largest study group for use in dementia research. It will allow researchers to examine dementia in a whole new way, investigating not just what is going wrong in the brain, but at the brain in the context of the whole body.
The Platform will look at the causes of dementia across a range of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease.
Professor Hugh Perry, Chair of the MRC Neurosciences and Mental Health Board, said that the Platform was the result of many years’ work to identify and tackle the problems facing dementia research. He added: “This will allow us to pick apart this disease and get new insights. The key word is collaboration.”
Professor John Gallacher, Director of the Dementias Platform UK and a member of the UK Biobank Steering Committee, told the launch conference: “By working together we really can do something about this disease and solve the major problems that have eluded us for decades.”
He added: “If we can delay the onset of dementia by just a few years, we can halve the number of people who die from the disease. By bringing together the best scientific minds to discover the causes of these terrible diseases, we can and will beat them.”
Visit the Dementias Platform UK website HERE