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UCL neuroscientists respond to “historic” new Alzheimer’s drug

30 November 2022

UCL neuroscientists have responded to the paper, published on Tuesday 29 November 2022, in the New England Journal of Medicine, which shows that the antibody drug lecanemab is the first to slow the progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.

Exterior of UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology.

Experts from UCL’s neuroscience community have given media interviews across a wide range of outlets, in response to the findings, which represent a seminal moment in Alzheimer’s research.

UCL neuroscience experts in the media

While UCL was not affiliated with this clinical trial, its success can be traced directly back to UCL’s Alzheimer’s researchers: Professor Sir John Hardy, whose landmark research in the 1990s established the ‘amyloid hypothesis’ - the theory that underpins the lecanemab trial. Professor Hardy and Professor Martin Rossor found the first gene that showed the link between Alzheimer’s and amyloid.

UCL’s Dementia Research Centre was centrally involved in the very first amyloid immunotherapy trial (AN1792) - helping with the design, execution and analysis for the trial - and led the worldwide image analysis (Fox, Neurology 2005).

UCL and Dementia Research Centre have led on several subsequent anti-amyloid antibody trials. 

The future of dementia research at UCL

The new Institute of Neurology and UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) building, set to open at 256 Grays Inn Road in 2024, will play a key role in the new era of dementia diagnostics and therapeutics, building on the successes of previous UCL studies and trials and the latest findings from the Clarity AD trial. It will provide an exceptional new home for 21st century neuroscience, that will have a significant impact on global neurological disease research.    

By nurturing the most impactful, collaborative and diverse neuroscience community in the world, the centre will boost the scale and quicken the pace at which we can continue to build on UCL’s historic seminal discoveries and trailblazing basic, clinical and translational research. 

Research is at a tipping point. UCL’s Professor Bart De Strooper, Director of the UK DRI, has called it “the hole in the dyke that leads to a bigger hole”. There are a plethora of exciting developments which need to be transferred into treatments. Philanthropy will enable us to accelerate the development of these promising ideas and to find new, more effective, and easy-to-administer treatments that could usher in a new era in dementia care.

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