Publication / Source: Neuro Central
Authors: Huzefa Rupawala (Kings College London, UK)
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of age-related dementia. Currently affecting 50 million people worldwide, this number is set to rise to 152 million by 2050. With an ever-increasing necessity for better treatments and therapies, research is vital to validate new drug targets, identify potential mechanisms and improve the success of clinical trials.
The Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) Conference 2018 commenced in the heart of London at the iconic Queen Elizabeth II Centre. The conference encompassed the progressive research undertaken by institutions across the UK, with a mission to prevent, treat and hopefully find a cure for dementia.
Opening remarks and a personal perspective
The conference opened with Diane Hanger (King’s College London (KCL), UK) welcoming the 650 delegates and introducing the first speaker: Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of ARUK. Hilary took to the stage where she announced the milestone achievements of ARUK over the past year, including a record breaking 44% increase in public donations. She also launched the new #ShareTheOrange campaign video starring Bryan Cranston, which they hope will challenge perceptions and educate people about the reality of dementia (you can watch the campaign here).
Hilary then introduced Rick Somerset-Williams, who shared his incredible personal perspective of dementia in memory of this mother. He took us through an immersive and powerful life journey into the hardships and emotional struggle that Alzheimer’s can take on both the person and their family. Rick’s pursuit in fighting for this cause provided the hope that fuels the work being conducted by ARUK and researchers striving to defeat dementia.
Flash talks hosted by Elizabeth Glennon (KCL) changed the pace with ten PhD and early career researchers lighting the stage with their innovative research. Topics included non-invasive MRI techniques for brain clearance pathways, microglia formation in response to toxic pathology, endoplasmic reticulum–mitochondrial interactions in Alzheimer’s, and many more. These face-paced talks from early career researchers certainly gave attendees food for thought, and generated some great discussion throughout the rest of the conference.
The UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI)