Swindon research team provide global breakthrough in tackling dementia

The news this week has been full of the potential breakthroughs in the treatment of dementia announced at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Washington. After a decade of research dead-ends, the announcement brings new hope, and as Beren Cross reports for This is Wiltshire.co.uk Swindon is at the very heart of developments....

DOCTORS and nurses in Swindon are at the centre of a medical breakthrough which has discovered not one, but two drugs which may delay dementia.

A team at the Kingshill Research Centre, which is one of the nation’s leading academic centres in dementia research, has been testing the two drugs for the past five years and had a breakthrough.

The team from Victoria Centre. Photo courtesy of Thisis Wiltshire.co.uk

At the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington DC last week, it was revealed solanezumab and Starbeam were two medications proven to slow down the debilitating effects of the disease.

Whilst solanezumab caught much of the international media attention, Dr Simon Manchip, clinical director for psychiatry in Swindon, believes the data presented for that drug was over-optimistic.

He said there was a 50 per cent drop out in patients on the solanezumab trial, which distorts the data presented, whereas Starbeam was much more promising.

Aricept is one of four licensed medications used around the world for dementia, but fades over time. Research suggests Starbeam boosts Aricept and allows people to live better lives, for longer.

The breakthroughs were the talk of the international conference and have given the team, based at Great Western Hospital’s Victoria Centre, a shot in the arm as they continue with their cutting edge research.

“It keeps you going because day in, day out, you are looking after people with dementia and at times it can be trying,” said Dr Manchip.

“We are simultaneously trying to move forward and find new treatments for such a destructive condition.

“It gives you momentum to carry on.”

The doctor has high hopes Starbeam will be brought to market in three years time, if test results continue to follow the current trend.

The team in Swindon collates its own testing group of patients from across the region and has led the way in dementia trials throughout the past 20 years, playing a role in the licensing of four different drugs down the line.

Emma Murray, clinical trial administrator, said: “When the study started in 2010 we recruited ten patients who participated in a monthly infusion.

“We are now about to enter the next phase of the study and look forward to being able to give more service users the opportunity to be involved in dementia research studies.”

The centre supports National Institute for Health research’s Join Dementia Research campaign, where readers can register their interest in participating in dementia research.

For more information, visit: joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk.

Article originally published on www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk 30/7/15

Swindon Dementia