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Medical Research Council have awarded DPUK’s Deep and Frequent Phenotyping (DFP) study an additional 2 years of funding, supporting work into identifying a set of biomarkers that identify early Alzheimer’s disease

Bernard Clarke, a volunteer for the DFP study, prepares for his MEG scan with the help of two research assistants.

We’re delighted to announce that the Medical Research Council have awarded DPUK’s Deep and Frequent Phenotyping (DFP) study an additional 2 years of funding.

Damage to the brain can start to occur many years before we see symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, and researchers need to be able to investigate and test treatments at this critical early stage. At present, it is difficult to prove that a new early-stage treatment works because any symptoms may be a long way off.

The DFP study aims to address this by creating a database of different measures taken from people at risk of Alzheimer's disease. These measures include regular brain scans, cognitive and memory tests, scans of magnetic fields generated by the brain, retinal imaging, blood tests, and the use of wearable technology to measure movement, gait and ongoing cognitive abilities.

Ultimately, the DFP study seeks to identify a set of biomarkers that identify early Alzheimer’s disease. These biomarkers are crucial in allowing for more efficient early phase drug development. The study also includes identifying less invasive biomarkers, finding more effective markers of disease progression, and finding remote markers that might substitute for face-to-face assessments.

This additional funding means the study can continue to use the data obtained through DFP to understand if early interventions are working.

Principal Investigator Dr Vanessa Raymont says, ‘I am delighted that this groundbreaking study has been funded for another two years. It remains the most in depth study of biomarkers of early Alzheimer's disease to date, and information from it will make a massive difference to our ability to identify early disease and track its response to new drugs. In the next two years we hope to hit our recruitment target of 250 people over 60, and build an incredible set of data around everything from retinal imaging to wearable devices.’