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Key dementia research facility protected thanks to BRACE

15 July 2020

One of the most important facilities supporting dementia research in the country will continue its help in the fight against the disease thanks to an award of £140,000 by Bristol dementia research charity BRACE. BRACE is an active partner of the Dementia HIT.

The South West Dementia Brain Bank (SWDBB), part of the Bristol Medical School, is based at Southmead Hospital. It stores brain tissue donated specifically for dementia-related research and provides tissue samples for research laboratories far and wide.

Research on brain tissue has played an invaluable role in the understanding of dementia to date and ongoing efforts to find a potential cure and treatments for dementia.

Medical research, including research into dementia, has been hit hard by the restrictions enforced during the coronavirus pandemic. There are fears that many projects will not recover and even that some key research facilities will close.

BRACE was able to award the grant that will protect the SWDBB’s work into autumn 2021 because it had set aside funds before the start of the pandemic.

Mark Poarch, BRACE Chief Executive, said, “It was as well that our trustees had started reserving funds for the Brain Bank as far back as 2018, as our fundraising has been devastated by the pandemic and we have had to rebuild from a low base.

“We know that many research projects are currently closed, and some will struggle to restart or get back to full scale activity for some time. The Brain Bank underpins so much research and letting it disappear would be like taking the foundations from under a house.”

Professor Pat Kehoe, Co-Director of the SWDBB and Gestetner Professor of Translational Dementia Research at the University of Bristol, added: “The coronavirus pandemic has been a very challenging time for everyone and especially for the many charities that support vital research.

“We are extremely grateful for the award by BRACE, which will enable us to continue to maintain the throughput of this research resource that continues to support numerous new programmes of research around the world to try and put an end to this devastating condition.”

BRACE has had a close relationship with the SWDBB since the charity was formed in 1987. It has awarded multiple support grants to the SWDBB as well as funded research projects in the closely associated research laboratories of the Dementia Research Group.

BRACE is now seeking to raise further funds to ensure the continuation of the SWDBB’s vital work well into the future.


Photo of Dr Laura Palmer, SWDBB manager Image credit: Oliver Edward


Key dementia research facility protected thanks to BRACE
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