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UK Dementia Research Institute at King’s College London

Dementia refers to a set of symptoms that may include memory loss or difficulties in thinking, problem-solving or language. There is a common misconception that dementia is a normal part of ageing. In reality, dementia appears when our brains are impaired by neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases cause a loss of functions in brain cells. While these diseases mostly affect the older population, they can also affect younger individuals. The most commonly known neurodegenerative disease include Alzheimer’s Disease, Frontotemporal Dementia and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Over the past 15 years, dementia has become the leading cause of death worldwide and the number of cases continues to rise in the UK. To address this issue, the UK government launched the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) in 2017. It is a national institute comprised of seven centres, one of which is located at King’s College London. With collaboration at its core, all seven centres share one goal: to boost, connect and revolutionise dementia research, 

King's College London was chosen as a centre for its excellence in research into neurodegenerative diseases causing dementia. The research in our centre specifically aims to identify the events happening at the molecular and cellular levels that lead to neuronal deaths. This will give insight into the distinctions between different neurodegenerative diseases as well as identifying the common link amongst them, which will lead us to the key to defeating dementia.

Our key questions:

  1. At the cellular level, which proteins in the human body are affected in dementia — what are the causes and consequences?
  2. How does dementia affect neuronal functions such as the communications between neurons or the structural integrity of the neurons?
  3. What are the commonalities between different neurodegenerative diseases causing dementia?
  4. What tools and technologies can we develop to improve the diagnosis and treatment of dementia?
  5. At the physiological level, what existing gene therapy can we use to develop treatments for dementia-affected brain or spinal cord?



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