The £200,000 study, funded by the leading charity the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, will aim to find out whether ‘biomarkers’ in blood could be used to identify someone with Alzheimer’s.
A biomarker is a term for something present in the body which can indicate disease, such as a certain protein or molecule. The Nottingham team will be identifying biomarkers by looking at proteins in the blood of Alzheimer’s patients compared to a control group of healthy older people.
Currently, identification of Alzheimer’s disease is difficulty and delays in diagnosis can mean that irreversible damage to the brain has already occurred before treatment can be given.
Doctors believe that catching the disease in its early stages and beginning treatment is a much more effective approach.
Professor Kevin Morgan in The University of Nottingham’s School of Molecular Medical Sciences, said: “A reliable, accurate test to identify affected individuals would mean future treatments could be given much earlier when drugs are likely to be most effective. It would also give people with dementia and their families more time to prepare and plan for the future.”
The researchers at The University of Nottingham hit upon the idea of using biomarkers as a means of diagnosis and will be involved in collecting the samples in conjunction with collaborators in the UK and EU, while the samples will be tested using technology based at Nottingham Trent University.
Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said: “We are delighted to be funding what could be a breakthrough study in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
“There are 700,000 people in the UK with dementia and this number is expected to double within a generation. We desperately need to fund research looking at different ways to tackle this devastating disease.”
The news of the study comes shortly before World Alzheimer’s Day on Sunday September 21, which aims to raise awareness about the reality of living with dementia.
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