The charity Alzheimer's Research UK has set up a £30m trio of new drug discovery institutes at Oxford and Cambridge universities and University College London. According to the proponents, the centers will work with academic and industrial partners in Europe and elsewhere.
"This is the single largest Alzheimer's drug discovery effort in the world. I am confident that we will be successful," said Simon Lovestone, scientific leader of the Oxford institute, at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
AdvertisementProfessor Lovestone also said that using new methods to understand the complex molecular processes that destroy the brain would be far more productive than the failed Alzheimer's drug trials undertaken by the pharmaceutical industry over the past decade.
He said companies had not come up with any product that stopped the Alzheimer's process, despite spending $2bn on drug development. The best treatments might delay symptoms of cognitive deterioration for six to eight months, but do nothing for the underlying disease.
Lovestone added that the initiative would use personalised or 'precision' medicine to find drugs tailored to individual patients in early stages of the disease, in contrast to the industry's recent trials.