In 2020, we donated £76,000 to Alzheimer’s Research UK to fund the work of their PhD student, Aurora Veteleanu, at the UK Dementia Research Institute at Cardiff University. Three years later, she has made incredible, ground-breaking discoveries about the disease.
Alzheimer’s Research UK are a charity helping provide an invaluable sense of hope to almost one million families in the UK affected by dementia. We’re proud to have partnered with them since 1994 and, in that time, we’ve helped fund research that has revealed over 70 Alzheimer’s risk genes and developed techniques that have influenced scientists across the globe.
In recent years, researchers have made great progress in understanding the key features that characterise dementia; this is crucial for discovering potential treatments. Aurora’s PhD studies have contributed significantly to advancing this area of study, and thanks to her hard work, the future looks brighter for those living with the disease.
For the first time, there is a possibility that treatments will be able to dramatically slow the progression of Alzheimer’s rather than just treat the symptoms. Although these drugs are in the very early stages of development and their effects are limited, their creation indicates that life-changing treatment is in sight.
Before her research began, Aurora aimed to investigate how variations to the clusterin gene affect the amount of protein in the brain – a major indicator of Alzheimer’s. She believed that studying clusterin biology would significantly advance understanding of how Alzheimer’s develops and could lead to potential treatments in the future.
Fast forward to today, and she has successfully established a new method for measuring these protein levels in the blood and spinal fluid. This has never been studied previously and is a breakthrough in the field. Her unique methods have been shared within the medical community, allowing more scientists like Aurora to make great progress in their research.
But Aurora is not stopping there, she is currently working to pioneer a new method for accurately detecting clusterin samples in brain tissue. Aurora’s work has been widely acknowledged in her field; her work was published in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Journal in September 2022, and she has travelled to speak at conferences in Aberdeen, Cardiff, and Sweden.