The five year project includes institutes at Oxford, Cambridge and UCL created to address the desperate lack of effective treatments for dementia. Championed by Simon Lovestone and Chas Bountra the Institute will build on major recent investments by the university and substantial recent grants received by the project leaders (totalling in excess of £40 million). It will be located in the University's newly-established built-for-purpose Target Discovery Institute.
According to Simon Lovestone, ‘Advances in science and technology are revolutionising our approach to healthcare, but dementia is playing catch up with other areas of disease research and needs a step change. With heart attack deaths halved and cancer survival rates in the UK doubled, it’s a sad fact that there are still few options for people with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Drug Discovery Alliance represents the best coordinated and strategic effort to make progress in dementia research and will build on successes in tackling other diseases to give us the best chance of making a difference. We’re proud to be hosting a Drug Discovery Institute here at the University of Oxford.’
All of the new findings from the research will made freely available to the world’s research community. ‘This has never been done before, and we believe that it will transform dementia research’, said Chas Bountra, ‘We will work with the best academic and industrial scientists to identify potential new drug targets for dementia. We will then generate high quality starting points for making new medicines, but then uniquely, make them freely available to the world’s biomedical community. By doing so we will catalyse new biology, new disease understanding and importantly accelerate those few molecules which are likely to slow down the progression of this dreadful disease. We are crowd sourcing the discovery of new medicines for Alzheimer’s disease. This is unprecedented.’
The Oxford Institute will be launched on March 24th.