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University of Nottingham Gets Funding to Develop Alzheimer's Dx

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – University of Nottingham scientists plan to use a £670,000 ($1.1 million) grant from the UK's Medical Research Council to develop a chip-based diagnostic test to catch Alzheimer's disease early in its development.

Nottingham scientists will develop the new test based on research that was funded by Alzheimer's Research UK and the Research Councils UK which led to the identification of seven protein biomarkers and development of a label-free measurement system that is based on imaging of protein microarrays.

"Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia have been found to give rise to unique profiles of proteins which we can detect in the blood," commented Paul O'Shea, who leads the Nottingham research team, and Nottingham University Hospitals Trust neurology researcher Nin Bajaj, in a joint statement. "Dementia is one of the biggest challenges facing our ageing world population. Current diagnostic tests are expensive and have limited accuracy."

Funded under the MRC's Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme, this grant will fund two years of research.

Alzheimer's disease affects nearly one million people in the UK at an annual cost of £23 billion, Nottingham's Vice Chancellor for Research Bob Webb said.

"This funding will enable the development of a prototype instrument that can be used in clinical settings – community medical centers as well as hospitals – as a screening tool for the presence and progression of AD," Webb said.