Neurodegeneration, dementia, and mental health
The Priority Challenges are indicative of the MRC’s strategic assessment of the need to tackle pressing health challenges and opportunities to exploit newly developed scientific expertise. The four priority challenges are:
The MRC’s commitment to funding the breadth and depth of biomedical research is continued within this sub-set of challenges as it is across the MRC funding portfolio. The following case studies and quantitative data demonstrate the impact of the MRC’s investment into these priority challenges.
MRC-funded researchers win prestigious awards for contribution to neurodegeneration research
Two MRC-funded scientists were recognised for their invaluable contributions to neurodegeneration research with prestigious awards in 2014 and 2015. By identifying key genetic mutations contributing to beta-amyloid plaques and tau protein tangles and their role in neurodegeneration, these researchers transformed our understanding of the mechanisms of neurodegeneration.
Molecule discovered by MRC researcher on path to drug development in neurodegeneration
A new molecule identified in 2015 by MRC-funded research has been patented and licensed by InFlectis BioScience, a start-up pharmaceutical company in France. Experiments in mice have shown that this molecule, called Sephin1, is able to prevent protein tangles, a hallmark of neurodegenerative diseases, from forming.
MRC-funded research influences 2015 NICE Dementia Guidelines
The MRC Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (CFAS) has led to important insights into the association of lifestyle factors with the risk of cognitive impairment. In 2015 the findings from this important study helped predict future demand for long term care and likely associated costs, thereby influencing the 2015 NICE Dementia Guidelines.
MRC Consortium works with industry to launch trial into anti-inflammatory drug for depression
In 2015, the newly formed MRC Immunopsychiatry Consortium worked closely with pharmaceutical company Janssen to launch a new Phase II clinical trial. This trial will investigate whether the anti-inflammatory drug sirukumab could be used to treat depression using insights from the Consortium that suggest a link between inflammation and depression.