Tuesday 5 June 2018

Newcastle leads £2.6 million dementia research network

Newcastle University has been named the coordinating centre for Brains for Dementia Research from 2018 until 2021; receiving £2.6 million to manage the network.

Led by Professor Alan Thomas, Newcastle University has taken on the role of the coordinating centre for Brains for Dementia Research (BDR). The BDR network comprises six academic centres with associated brain banks. They are located at the Universities of Newcastle, London, Oxford, Bristol, Manchester and Cardiff, and their role is to facilitate the highest quality research, aiming to find a cure for dementia.

With the support of the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, Brains for Dementia Research was set up approximately 10 years ago to establish a national programme providing high quality, clinically characterised and neuropathologically standardised brain tissue available to dementia researchers worldwide

BDR provides tissue with enhanced value as the memory, thinking and behaviour of each prospective donor are monitored by regular assessments throughout their later life, thereby offering researchers a complete medical history to accompany the donated brain tissue. This allows them to see how brain changes seen at post mortem correlate with symptoms documented in life.

Dementia research in Newcastle

Newcastle University has an outstanding reputation for research into dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. The Brains for Dementia Research coordinating centre being located here adds strength to the high calibre of research taking place.

In 2016, along with the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle University was awarded the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre which focuses on world-class research in ageing and long-term conditions, notably, dementia.  Dementia research has been supported through the NIHR in Newcastle for the past twelve years, and through this, researchers have continued to lead internationally in research into Lewy body dementia

Professor Alan Thomas, BDR Director comments; “My colleagues and I are already part of ground-breaking research into dementia here in Newcastle, and I am delighted that we have been awarded the management of the BDR network which will facilitate dementia researchers worldwide to work towards findings a cure for dementia because research on human brain tissue is essential for generating and replicating novel treatment targets”.


Back row, left to right: Mary Dang – James Pickett – Rupert Evenett  – Rosa Imarisio –Simon Ridley– Beth Sivyer

Front row, left to right: Alan Wells – Alan Thomas – James Ironside

Credit: Michael Baister