£1m grant to research genetic causes of dementia

5 May 2016

Stuart Pickering-Brown has been awarded £1million to study Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer's disease.

The award from the Medical Research Council will enable the Professor of Neurogenetics to investigate the gene C9orf72, the most common genetic cause of FTLD and motor neurone disease. Around 40% of patients with FTLD have a family history of dementia. Professor Pickering-Brown, said: “We know of several genes that cause FTLD, however, we don’t fully understand how mutations in this gene lead to dementia.”

The new research will look at the repeat expansion mutation of C9orf72 which produces five different repetitive proteins that accumulate in brain cells. The team intends to create models of four of these five repetitive proteins to hopefully mimic aspects of FTLD. They will then investigate if these repetitive proteins contribute to the processes that cause brain cells to die. Ultimately, it is hoped that the study will offer a platform for researchers to test therapies for FTLD.

Professor Stuart Pickering-Brown research profile 

Full press release: Potential cause of dementia to be investigated with £1m grant

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