Oxfordshire Freemasons have presented a Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) grant of £100,000 to Alzheimer’s Research UK to help them fund pioneering research into new tools for dementia diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia in the UK, with half a million people living with the disease. However, the early stages of memory loss can often be attributed to a range of different factors, making an accurate and timely diagnosis a huge challenge. This means people don’t receive the correct support and miss out on opportunities to take part in clinical research.
The expert research team, led by Professor Simon Lovestone at the University of Oxford, want to tackle this by developing a simple blood test for Alzheimer’s disease.
The MSF provided the £100,000 donation following a poll of local Freemasons who nominated the Charity to receive a grant from the Silver Jubilee Research Fund. Alzheimer’s Research UK is one of 13 medical research charities to be awarded a grant by the MSF this year at a total cost of £1.125million.
The donation was presented to Professor Simon Lovestone by the Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Oxfordshire, James Hilditch, on 15th October at the Nuffield Department of Medicine Research Building, Old Road Campus.
Speaking on behalf of local Freemasons, James Hilditch said: “Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects so many of us, family, friends and colleagues. Over 550 Freemasons from around the Oxfordshire area nominated Alzheimer’s Research UK to receive a grant and we are very proud to be able to demonstrate our support for the fight against dementia.”
The first three years of Professor Simon Lovestone’s project have been incredibly successful, with the discovery of a protein ‘fingerprint’ in blood that could predict whether someone with mild memory problems will go on to develop Alzheimer’s. To date, the Freemasons’ charities have provided over £560,000 to Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“This incredibly generous gift has the power to improve clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. We know that many of the drug trials that have taken place so far – and failed – have been carried out in people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. But it is likely that for new drugs to be effective, they’ll have to be given much earlier in the disease course. A simple blood test to help predict whether people with mild memory problems will go on to develop Alzheimer’s has huge potential to ensure people receive the right drugs at the right time.”