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The MRC Neurosciences Board and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) have today announced a multi-million pound award to Professor Simon Lovestone, Oxford. The award, made as part of the Dementias Platform UK, is for a Deep and Frequent Phenotyping Study, designed to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.  It aims to significantly increase our understanding of how to detect early Alzheimer’s disease.

The main goal of this study is to identify a biomarker set that can be used for measuring change in proof of concept in pre-dementia clinical trials and to function as a selection marker predictor of disease progression.  The three interlinked aims of the study are to:
1) Identify a marker set from summary data from a wide range of assessment modalities that tracks with disease change as measured by change in pathology or change in cognition
2) Identify a marker set from summary data from a wide range of assessment modalities that predicts clinical progression at one year and beyond
3) Provide samples and raw data for very high dimensionality data studies, mining this data set for combinational markers tracking progression and predicting clinical outcomes.

The study benefits from the expertise of the DPUK Research Community. Professor Clare Mackay, Oxford, (MRI lead for DfP) is establishing the Imaging Informatics work stream, bringing together the DPUK Informatics and Imaging Networks, to develop an Imaging Platform that is linked to the DPUK Data Portal.  Professor James Rowe, Cambridge, (Electrophysiology lead for DfP) is the DPUK Experimental Medicine Theme Lead for Synaptic Health.  Professor Craig Ritchie, Edinburgh, led the DPUK work package for Cohort Engagement and Profiling.

Professor Rowe said “This is a landmark study, unique in its ambition and the unity that it has created in the Dementia research community. It is a “game-changer”, and a major event for the Dementia Platform UK.  With the success of this study in just a few years’ time, we will have the critical tools needed for both academic and industrial partners to prove whether a new range of anti-dementia treatments work to prevent dementia, and to know it quickly.”

Professor Gallacher said “The Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study breaks new ground in depth and frequency of measurement in dementia research. This study will generate a wealth of data on the complex brain changes that occur with dementia. Congratulations to Professor Lovestone and his team on this success.”

Professor Lovestone presented findings from the feasibility study and background to this award at the DPUK’s recent Annual Conference. A video recording of that presentation is available to see on DPUK’s vimeo channel.

Join Dementia Research is a national service that makes it easier for people to register their interest in volunteering for vital dementia research studies.  If you are interested in participating, please visit or contact the charity helplines: Alzheimer’s Scotland 0808 808 3000, Alzheimer’s Research UK 0300 111 5111, or Alzheimer’s Society 0300 222 1122.
Medical Research Council (MRC) Press Release

BBC News Press Coverage

Journal of Precision Medicine News Story