Promising Alzheimer’s research takes a step forward

Promising Alzheimer’s research takes a step forward

Promising Alzheimer’s research takes a step forward

The FINANCIAL -- Scientists from the University of Liverpool and Victoria University of Wellington have been awarded over £478K to advance a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Jerry Turnbull at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Integrative Biology and  Professor Peter Tyler, Drs Olga Zubkova and Ralf Schwӧrer from Wellington’s Ferrier Research Institute have been awarded an Alzheimer’s Society grant worth over £260K.

The team has also been awarded more than £220K from the KiwiNet PreSeed Accelerator Fund, as well as a New Zealand Federation of Women’s Institutes research grant of £8000 for Dr Zubkova, according to the University of Liverpool.

New case every 60 seconds

Every 60 seconds someone in the world develops Alzheimer’s disease, which causes an inability to retain new information and difficulty in recognising people and places.

The funding will be used to develop drug candidates discovered from research the team has been working on since 2008.

The researchers approach harnesses the natural ability of complex sugars called heparan sulfates to control the degradation of proteins in the brain that cause memory loss.

Degradation control

Professor Turnbull, said: “Through our research we have discovered how to make small heparan sulfates chemically in the lab and found some of them have the ability to target an enzyme that creates small toxic compounds in the brain believed to be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Professor Peter Tyler adds: “New drugs that can effectively halt or delay the progression of the disease are urgently needed and this funding is invaluable to progressing our work.”

The remainder of the preclinical tests are expected to take two years, and if successful, the end product can be launched in clinical trials.