Understanding how Alzheimer’s disease affects different types of brain cells

Read about a research project we funded into understanding how age-related changes in cell type composition in the brain contribute to Alzheimer's disease.

Lead Researcher: Dr Lilach Soreq

Institution: University College London

Grant type: Junior Fellowship

Amount: £211,224

Duration: 36 months

Why did we fund this project? 

Comments from members of the Research Network:

'This will be a benefit to the medical world and hopefully to the individuals with dementia.'

'The researcher has a good track record and one of the priorities for research is earlier diagnosis.'

What do we already know?

Alzheimer's disease affects brain cells known as neurons in specific regions of the brain that are involved in memory and thinking. Other cells in the brain are thought to have roles in the disease process as well, including specialised immune cells called microglia. However, the effects the disease has on other types of cells, particularly those in other regions of the brain, have not been thoroughly investigated.

What does this project involve?

Dr Soreq will closely investigate the effect of Alzheimer's disease on different types of cells in various areas of the brain. She will use a variety of techniques, including data analysis and genetic, computational and imaging technologies to find out the differences between these types of cells at the molecular level and in aspects such as size and shape. She will examine the differences in these cells between people with Alzheimer's disease and those who are not affected by the condition.  

How will this benefit people affected by dementia?

This multidisciplinary approach will build a detailed picture of the changes that happen to cells in the brain during Alzhiemer's disease. An understanding of what happens in the cells at the earliest stages could be used to design potential new treatments that aim to stop these changes before symptoms of the disease begin to show. 

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