New collaboration to accelerate advancements in gene therapies for dementia

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Dementia Alzheimer's disease gene therapies Gene therapy AAV adeno-associated virus Adeno associated virus

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) and the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) have announced a collaboration to accelerate clinical development of adeno-associated virus (AAV) based gene therapies for dementia.

Through the partnership, the CGT Catapult will work with UK academic centers of excellence and the UK DRI to identify new AAV-based gene therapies with high potential to become new medicines for dementia. The organizations will then create detailed development plans for each project and potentially conduct early research activities in order to prepare assets for further investment.

Growing need

With a team of more than 400 cell and gene therapy experts and headquarters at St Guy’s hospital in London, the CGT Catapult is an organization dedicated to the advancement of cell and gene therapies.

Meanwhile, the national UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) is the single biggest investment in dementia research in the UK with more than 750 researchers. It was established in 2017 by the Medical Research Council, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK and is hosted across six top UK universities: University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London and King’s College London, with its central hub at University College London.

The UK DRI’s partnership with the CGT Catapult aims to leverage the expertise and resource of both organizations to accelerate the translation of novel gene therapy approaches to the clinic.

Matthew Durdy, CEO of CGT Catapult, said: “Dementia is increasing, under-researched and has very limited treatment options. Cell and gene therapies have in the past shown to be highly effective in treatment areas where other therapies have had limited success. It is therefore vital that we fully explore how cell and gene therapies could be used to address this unmet medical need, and we look forward to working closely with the UK DRI to identify and accelerate the most promising therapies.”

Dementia has been one of the leading causes of mortality in the UK since 2015. Over 850,000 people in the UK have dementia and the number of people with dementia will continue to grow as the population ages. 

While new and improved treatments for heart disease and cancer are reducing mortality, a lack of effective treatment options for neurodegenerative conditions means that dementia-related deaths continue to rise.

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