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Cash award for Alzheimer’s study

A University of St Andrews biologist has been awarded Medical Research Council (MRC) funding to further the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease.

The MRC and Department of Health have today announced a £5.3m package to fund 28 new research projects aimed at improving

the understanding of brain science and paving the way for larger clinical trials of new treatments.

Other projects receiving funding include studies of depression, anxiety, bulimia and bipolar disorder.

Dr Frank Gunn-Moore of the School of Biology has been awarded a grant to develop biomarkers for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Gunn-Moore is a neurobiologist who is working on how nerve cells develop normally and how they are then affected in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Following on from an initial £5m investment in 2004, this is the second round of MRC funding (£4.3m) to strengthen UK brain sciences research and promote innovative projects and highly competitive ideas. The Department of Health provided an additional £1m sum for research into develop mental health.

Professor Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive of the MRC said, “It is very encouraging to see the quality and originality of the research ideas coming forward to address the hugely complex problems of mental health and brain degeneration.

MRC is committed to working more closely with the Department of Health, and other partners in the UK Clinical Research Collaboration to make sure we have balanced and well co-ordinated programmes and infrastructure in the major disease areas.

These jointly funded awards will be especially important in building up research in mental health, which represents a huge burden on people, families, and the health service.”

Professor Sally Davies, Director of Research and Development at the Department of Health said, “Mental health research is one of our key priorities. Our joint aim in this initiative is to improve support for trials of new treatments and other high quality research, to help find the most effective ways of caring for patients.

These grants will help patients by speeding up the translation of research from laboratory to the clinic. This builds on our investment in the new Clinical Research Networks being set up by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration. A Mental Health Research Network has already been formed to help provide a more efficient and effective link between research and treatment, and Networks in Stroke and Alzheimer’s disease will be set up in 2005.”

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS

Further information – MRC press office – 0207 637 6011 or Claire Grainger, Press Officer, University of St Andrews – 01334 462530/07730 415 015

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