Novel research participant selection technology from Leicester to aid bid to prevent Alzheimers dementia

A major study involving the University of Leicester to find interventions that prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia has recruited its first participant.

The £50 million (€64 m) Europe-wide initiative aims to improve understanding of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and how it leads to dementia.

The recruitment process is underpinned by a completely novel IT approach, developed by Professor Anthony Brookes (pictured) of our Department of Genetics, that enables potential participants to be selected from cohorts across Europe without ever directly accessing or sharing any of their personal or biometric data.

Participants will have regular health checks including blood tests and brain scans. Researchers will also track their thinking skills over time using tests of mental agility.

The team hopes to develop tests to identify early signs of Alzheimer’s disease that may indicate when a person is at risk of dementia before symptoms appear.

Julie Duffus from near Edinburgh in Scotland is the first person to take part in the project, which aims to recruit 6000 volunteers from across Europe.

Professor Anthony Brookes said: “Achieving this milestone opens a new era in Alzheimer’s drug development, and further validates our new technology for the safe discovery of data and research participants. Furthermore, since the platform is generic by design it can immediately be deployed to advance many other disease and research areas.”