Integrated dementia research environment (IDEA)

Dementia is one of the UK's most challenging health problems, affecting 670,000 people in the UK. Dementia costs the UK economy £26 billion a year.

The Dementia Platform UK (DPUK) was established in 2015 by the Medical Research Council as a UK-wide initiative to meet the 'Grand Challenge of Dementia'. This major initiative has invested £53M to support infrastructure technology platforms for dementia research. 

Researchers in Cardiff University are partners in each of the three DPUK research networks:

  • the Imaging Network (led by the School of Psychology)
  • the Informatics Network (led by the School of Medicine)
  • the Dementia Stem Cell Network (led by the School of Biosciences).

The Dementia Stem Cell Network (DSCN) is a collaboration between Cardiff, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, Oxford and UCL universities. 

The recent advances in induced pluripotent stem cell technology present, for the first time, a rational approach to human disease modelling and a highly focussed and stratified strategy for drug discovery. 

The DSCN aims to establish robust, deeply phenotyped cell models of dementia from stem cell lines derived from patient cohorts that have been stratified using clinical cognitive and neuroimaging data, together with genetic risk scores for developing dementia. 

Collectively the DSCN will establish reference standards for stem cell-based disease research and will aim to develop new assays for future drug discovery in collaboration with Pharma partners. 

Research in the School of Biosciences will use expertise in neuronal differentiation, electrophysiology and cell imaging to develop 'brain-in-a-dish' models of dementia and focus on understanding functional and metabolic deficits in disease neurons.

People

Funding

Medical Research Council (MRC)

Partners

Dementia Platform UK