Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Alzheimer's funding boost for Scots scientists

Prof Tara Spires-Jones Image copyright Edinburgh University
Image caption Prof Tara Spires-Jones is looking into possible new treatments for Alzheimer's

Scottish researchers have received funding to explore what could be a new way of treating Alzheimer's.

The team from the UK Dementia Research Institute at Edinburgh University have received £160,000 from Alzheimer's Research UK.

They want to use the funding to investigate nerve damage caused by Alzheimer's, which causes the symptoms of dementia.

Over 70,000 Scots live with dementia. Alzheimer's causes two thirds of cases.

What are they researching?

Their research will focus on microscopic connection points between nerve cells in the brain.

They are essential for thinking, learning and memory. Damage causes the symptoms of dementia.

The Edinburgh scientists have discovered that a protein in the connection points increases when people get the disease.

They will investigate whether targeting that protein with drugs could help limit the damage.

They will use stem cell techniques to grow nerve cells in the lab so they can study connection points in detail.

'Meaningful difference'

Prof Tara Spires-Jones, from Edinburgh University, said: "This new funding will allow my team to see if lowering levels of our target protein could help to slow down or stop the loss of nerve cell connections in Alzheimer's disease.

"The approaches we're testing in cells in the lab could form the basis of research into new drugs that could make a meaningful difference to the lives of people living with Alzheimer's."

Speaking about the new funding, Dr Laura Phipps from Alzheimer's Research UK said: "These scientists at Edinburgh University are making crucial progress towards breakthroughs for people with dementia.

"By innovating new approaches to tackle Alzheimer's disease, researchers like Prof Spires-Jones are providing new hope for taking on our greatest medical challenge."