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UKCRC Brain Bank Strategy: Renewal of Newcastle brain tissue resource

Funder: UK Research and InnovationProject code: G0900652
Funded under: MRC Funder Contribution: 352,528 GBP

UKCRC Brain Bank Strategy: Renewal of Newcastle brain tissue resource

Description

Neurological disorders such as Alzheimer?s disease and psychiatric disorders such as major depression affect large numbers of individuals in the UK and represent some of the major health burdens in developed countries. For example Alzheimer?s affects over 400,000 people in the UK and the numbers of people with the disorder are expected to rise substantially in coming years. Whilst considerable advances have been made in our understanding of disorders that affect brain function, we still need to identify the underlying causes so that we can find new treatments. Collection of brain tissue from donors at death represents one of the very few ways that we can investigate the development of psychiatric and degenerative disorders. It is not generally possible to take brain tissue from live donors and animal models can only mimic certain aspects of the human disorder. Post mortem tissue research is therefore our best avenue to understanding. By studying such tissue samples it is possible to identify the changes that give rise to conditions such as Alzheimer?s disease, Parkinson?s disease, depression and motor neurone disease. This project aims to collect brain tissue from donors from as wide as possible a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders for distribution to both the national and international research community through a wide network managed in collaboration with the UK Medical Research Council. This will ensure that as many research projects as possible can be undertaken on the samples thereby increasing the opportunities for identifying treatments for these disorders. This will be complemented by the collection of tissue from normal individuals of a similar age so that comparisons can be made. All donors will have been seen in a recognised specialist clinic and will have agreed to donate tissue before their death, having been informed of all procedures. Next of kin and other involved parties will be included in these discussions. The project has already received formal Ethical Approval and we have been making this type of request to patients and their families for many years without experiencing any adverse reactions. Indeed most people find this a welcome opportunity to contribute to an important research effort. Our long term aim is to contribute as widely as possible to the national programme of brain research into neurological and psychiatric disorders and advance our understanding of the causes of these disorders, with the long term aim of identifying treatments.

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