Harnessing Technology to Develop New Models of Alzheimer’s Disease

Accelerator Fund

This project has been developed from the Initiator funded the GW4 Aging and Dementia (GW4AD) Consortium community.

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Vasanta Subramanian
University of Bristol: James Hodge, Caroline Relton
Cardiff University: Nick Allen
University of Exeter: Katie Lunnon, Jonathan Mill, Jonathan Brown

Project overview

Nearly 1 million people in the UK suffer from dementia, with care costs of over £23billion per year. There is no cure at present and the treatments available only improve the symptoms, but do not treat or reverse the underlying disease. This means we need to gain knowledge of the underlying causes of the disease in order to develop new and more effective drugs that treat the disease early.

As a team we have identified some early changes that occur to control how genes are regulated in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients. We will investigate how these gene changes might lead to Alzheimer’s disease. This is very important as it may help to find new drug treatments in the future.

In order to achieve these goals we are going to apply an exciting new technology that allows us to directly edit the specific changes in genes we saw in Alzheimer’s disease. We will do this in human nerve cells grown in dishes, in fruit flies and in mice. Ultimately, this will allow us to intervene in these processes with new medications and allows the efficient and rapid screening of new drugs in the future.

We expect two major outcomes; the first is the development of novel epigenetic editing techniques, which we believe will be of interest to the wider GW4 community. The second is the application for grant funding to continue the proof of principle work.