Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.
27 Mar 2018
After nearly eight years at the helm of the MRC as Chief Executive, Professor Sir John Savill steps down at the end of March, just before UK Research and Innovation comes into being on 1 April. Here he reflects on how he’s translated his priorities into research investments which will strengthen the UK research ecosystem for the future.
At the end of this week I will have completed an eventful seven and a half years as CEO of the MRC. Thanks to wonderful support from across the MRC’s extended family, much has been achieved for medical research. [...]
Continue reading: Medical research has a bright future
21 Sep 2017
Alois Alzheimer first described his eponymous disease a century ago, but there are still no effective treatments. For World Alzheimer’s Day, Professor Bart de Strooper, Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute, asks why that is, and tells us how that might all be about to change.
Professor Bart de Strooper
In the early 1900s, a German neurologist called Alois Alzheimer became obsessed with studying an Asylum patient in her 50s, who had started to show unusual behavioural changes, including short-term memory loss. After her death he examined her brain and discovered structures known as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles – the hallmarks of what became known as Alzheimer’s disease. So why, when we’ve known about the disease for so long, are there still no treatments? [...]
Continue reading: Dementia: why don’t we have any treatments yet?
13 Sep 2017
The MRC has joined forces with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to create this picture of the dementia research ‘landscape’ in the UK, made up of people working together for a better future for people with dementia. Catherine Moody, MRC Programme Manager for Dementias initiatives, explains what we can see.
The dementias research landscape in the UK can look pretty complicated to those not directly involved in dementias research. It can even look bewildering to those who are!
But as our new picture shows, the jigsaw pieces do fit together. And without any one of the pieces, the picture isn’t complete. [...]
Continue reading: Behind the picture: Dementia research in the UK
20 Apr 2017
Research published today, funded by the MRC* and the Alzheimer’s Society’s Drug Discovery programme, has made important progress in the search for new treatments for dementia by re-purposing old drugs. Dr Louise Walker, Research Communications Officer at the Alzheimer’s Society, spoke to the scientist who led the research, Professor Giovanna Mallucci at the MRC Toxicology Unit, to find out more.
Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative brain diseases are characterised by the presence of misfolded proteins in the brain. These proteins are thought to have toxic effects on brain cells, but exactly how they contribute to dementia still remains a mystery. [...]
Continue reading: Teaching old drugs new tricks
14 Dec 2016
Today we announced Professor Bart De Strooper will lead the UK’s first Dementia Research Institute (DRI), a combined investment from the MRC, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK. Sara Gregson from the Alzheimer’s Society Research Network, a former carer for her mother with dementia, chaired a recruitment panel involving people affected by dementia. Here she explains the importance of their involvement.
It was an honour for me to be asked to chair the lay interview panel for recruitment of the DRI director. [...]
Continue reading: Creating a culture of patient and public involvement
3 May 2016
Charity partners Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK will be instrumental in involving people living with dementia in the work of the new £250m MRC-led UK Dementia Research Institute. Here Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Keith Oliver shares his hopes for how the new institute will make life better for people with dementia, now and tomorrow.
Photo copyright: Alzheimer’s Society
My world changed in 2010 when I was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 55. My early symptoms were falling over, an element of reduced concentration and being unable to follow things as well as I did previously.
I went to the GP thinking I’d got an ear infection and was sent for an MRI scan. When I had an appointment with a neurologist to discuss the scan he said, totally out of the blue, that it looked like the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. After attending a memory clinic for around four months of quite intensive testing and assessments I received a diagnosis. [...]
Continue reading: Dementia: care today, cure tomorrow