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The University of Southampton

Southampton scientists benefit from £650,000 charity funding boost

Published: 21 September 2012

Dementia scientists at the University of Southampton are set to gain from a huge funding boost after Alzheimer’s Research UK committed a record amount of money to new research projects. The UK’s leading dementia research charity has pledged a further £5.5m investment in new projects, bringing its current commitment to over £20m. The announcement, which coincides with World Alzheimer’s Day (21 September), includes awards of almost £650,000 for Southampton researchers.

The charity has awarded a total of 52 new grants aimed at understanding the causes of dementia, improving diagnosis, and finding new treatments and preventions. Five of these grants are awarded to pioneering researchers at the University of Southampton.

The commitment will allow scientists in the region to study the role of immune cells in Alzheimer’s, as well as understanding the risk factors of the disease. It will also provide vital funds for equipment to measure the electrical activity of nerve cells and understand how they can become damaged in dementia.

Alzheimer's patient scan

Dr Cheryl Hawkes, a researcher from the University, has just been awarded a Senior Research Fellowship. She said:
“I am really grateful to Alzheimer’s Research UK for investing in my research and my future as a dementia scientist. This three year fellowship will allow me to investigate why some people are more at risk of Alzheimer’s than others. With so many families affected by the disease, it is important to understand how we can prevent or treat it.”

Catherine Moden, from Eastleigh, knows only too well the huge impact that Alzheimer’s can have on families. Her mum Pam was diagnosed with the disease over ten years ago and now lives in a care home. She said:
“This cruel disease has robbed my family of a beloved mum and grandma. It’s devastating to see such a hardworking and loving mum of five slowly stop recognising the world around her. We desperately need new treatments to allow people to have longer with their loved ones. It is great to see new money being invested in research, as it’s the only solution to this heartbreaking disease.”

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We are proud to announce a record year for investment in research. Dementia is an issue close to many people’s hearts and it is touching to see that public support for our work has increased despite a difficult financial climate. We are entirely dependent on voluntary donations, so this major investment in research is a vote of support from the public for UK dementia scientists. We are dedicated to defeating dementia and pleased to be supporting world-class research in Southampton.

“While this increased investment reflects a successful year’s fundraising for Alzheimer’s Research UK, it’s also a time to look to the future. With the number of people in the UK with dementia estimated at 820,000 and rising, including over 2,000 people in Southampton, we need increased and sustained funding for research. Funding for dementia research still lags far behind research into other serious diseases and we desperately need the public’s support to make dementia a national priority.”

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