News

Toxic proteins implicated in frontotemporal dementia and motor neurone disease

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The brain of a transgenic fruit fly

Scientists at UCL Institute of Neurology and the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne have discovered how a specific genetic mutation may damage nerve cells in frontotemporal dementia and motor neurone disease.

Professor Tabrizi and Professor Price elected to Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

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Professor Cathy Price

Professor Sarah Tabrizi (Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases, UCL Institute of Neurology and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery) and Professor Cathy Price (Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL Institute of Neurology) have been recognised for their contribution to the advancement of medical science by election to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Population Screening for vCJD Using a Novel Blood Test

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There are real concerns over the number of people in the UK that, although well, maybe infected with Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the human form of mad cow disease.

Chief Medical Officer appoints Professor Rossor as NIHR National Director for Dementia Research

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Professor Martin Rossor

Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, has appointed Professor Martin Rossor (UCL Institute of Neurology) as the new NIHR National Director for Dementia Research.

Lowering levels of toxic protein reverses abnormalities in cells from patients with Huntington's disease

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Monocyte GeRPs

UCL scientists, led by Professor Sarah Tabrizi at the UCL Institute of Neurology, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, have shown for the first time that switching off the mutant protein that causes the fatal brain disorder Huntington’s disease can reverse abnormalities in living cells taken from patients with the disease.

UCL takes the lead with £8.5m funding for dementia research

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UCL has been awarded more than £8.5 million by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to help tackle the challenges associated with dementia.

Secretary of State visits leading dementia research projects

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The Prime Minister today called for a global effort to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time: dementia. UCL scientists, working with clinicians at the university's partner hospitals, are at the heart of the battle to treat the condition.

New £20m centre pioneers first-in-man trials for neurodegenerative diseases

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Leonard Wolfson opening

A specialist £20 million research centre, funded by the Wolfson Foundation and dedicated to carrying out first-in-human studies, opens in London today. Researchers at the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (LWENC) will investigate exciting new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

RNA build-up linked to dementia and motor neuron disease

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A new toxic entity associated with genetically inherited forms of dementia and motor neuron disease has been identified by scientists at the UCL Institute of Neurology. The toxin is the result of a genetic mutation that leads to the production of RNA molecules which could be responsible for the diseases. The findings are published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica.

Researchers estimate one in 2,000 people in the UK carry variant CJD proteins

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A study led by Sebastian Brandner at the Department of Neurodegenerative disease, UCL Institute of Neurology, in collaboration with the AHVLA in Weybridge and Public Health England shows all ages and genotypes to be affected.

Scientists develop refined diagnostic tool for inherited dementias

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Researchers at the MRC Prion Unit and the NIHR Queen Square Dementia Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) have developed and tested an integrated tool (the ‘MRC Dementia Gene Panel’) to diagnose early onset, genetic forms of dementia, bringing together for the first time all 17 genes known to play a substantial role in causing inherited forms of dementia.

TRACK-HD study identifies early predictors of disease progression in Huntington’s disease

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An international team led by researchers at the UCL Institute of Neurology has identified a set of tests that could help identify whether - and how - Huntington’s disease (HD) is progressing in groups of people who are not yet showing symptoms.

UCL Institute of Neurology enters gene-editing research collaboration with Horizon Discovery

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Professor Sarah Tabrizi, UCL Institute of Neurology and principal investigator of the TRACK-HD study, discusses a new research partnership between the Institute and Horizon Discovery, a technology company that provides researchers with tools to support translational genomics research. Read more: Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News

Toxic protein build-up in blood shines light on fatal brain disease

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TR-Fret

A new light-based technique for measuring levels of the toxic protein that causes Huntington’s disease (HD) has been used to demonstrate that the protein builds up gradually in blood cells. Published today (17th) in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the findings shed light on how the protein causes damage in the brain, and could be useful for monitoring the progression of HD, or testing new drugs aimed at suppressing production of the harmful protein.

Unlocking the mysteries of the mind

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Professor Martin Rossor

Like cancer and HIV decades before, the solution to stopping dementia in its tracks has remained stubbornly intransigent. But there is hope.

The race to find a cure for dementia has never been more critical: within ten years there will be around one million people in the UK with this devastating condition – many of whom will spend their last few years severely impaired and dependent on others for care.

The NHNN and UCL Institute of Neurology are at the research epicentre and have recently been awarded grants totaling over £30 million.

International project to determine vascular contribution to neurodegeneration begins

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18 April 2012

Congratulations to UCL Institute of Neurology scientists, Dr David Werring and Professor Nick Fox, who are part of an international team of scientists that has recently been awarded funding from the Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (CoEN) to study how vascular disease contributes to neurodegenerative disease. The project, titled Standards for Determining the Vascular Contribution to Neurodegeneration, aims to create a common, albeit expert set of definitions and terminology to describe neuroimaging findings related to diseases affecting brain small vessels. These diseases, including hypertensive arteriopathy and cerebral amyloid angiopathy, are among the commonest to affect the brain and are key causes of stroke and dementia.

Prime Minister visits UCL Institute of Neurology

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David Cameron at the IoN

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has visited the Dementia Research Centre at UCL as part of this morning’s government announcement that dementia research funding will be doubled to £66 million by 2015.

Wolfson Foundation awards £20million to UCL for experimental neurology centre

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UCL Institute of Neurology and the NHNN

A new centre dedicated to the understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases will be established at UCL following the award of a £20million grant from the Wolfson Foundation, it was announced today.

Researchers move closer to finding successful drugs to treat Huntington’s disease

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Source: The Lancet/The Lancet Neurology Press Release

TRACK-HD investigators, including UCL Institute of Neurology researchers have identified a set of objective, validated measures that can be used to assess new treatments for Huntington’s disease (HD). The study, published last week in The Lancet Neurology, should increase the likelihood of success of future trials of new drugs to delay the onset and reduce the severity of HD.

UCL scientists get £88k boost to study hearing problems in Alzheimer’s

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Source: Alzheimer’s Research UK Press Release

UCL Institute of Neurology PhD student, Hannah Golden, is embarking on a project to understand the causes of hearing problems in Alzheimer’s disease, thanks to an £88,000 grant from Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity. It’s hoped the study, which is the one of the first of its kind, could improve diagnosis and lead to new ways of helping patients cope with their symptoms.

Neurodegenerative disease research projects secure international collaborative funding

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Professor Martin Rossor

Congratulations to UCL Institute of Neurology professor’s Martin Rossor and Anthony Schapira, who have both been awarded funding in the first ever Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration Research (CoEN) initiative. CoEN, an international collaborative of research funders including UK’s Medical Research Council, launched the initiative last year, with a remit of bringing together researchers from labs across the globe to further our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases and identify new ways of treating these diseases.

UCL Alzheimer’s researcher receives lifetime achievement award

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Dr Jonathan Schott receives the US Alzheimer Association 2011 de Leon Prize in Neuroimaging: New Investigator Award

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Study reveals genetic clues underlying progressive supranuclear palsy

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Scientists are one step closer to understanding the genes associated with the rare neurodegenerative disease, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), according to a study published in the current Nature Genetics. The genomewide association study was completed by an international consortium of researchers, including members of UCL Institute of Neurology’s Reta Lila Weston Institute (RLWI).

Prion infection begins after one minute of exposure

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Rapid cell surface prion protein conversion

Scientists funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) have shown that one minute of exposure to infecting prions is enough to begin the chain reaction of events which lead to prion disease in the brain, causing Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of Mad Cow Disease, far quicker than previously estimated.

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