May 17, 2020

Elan and Cambridge University form new research centre

Elan
University of Cambridge
Cambirdge University
researc
Admin
2 min
Elan has joined forces with the University of Cambridge
A research partnership and collaboration between the University of Cambridge in the UK and Irish pharmaceutical company Elan has been announced. Togeth...

A research partnership and collaboration between the University of Cambridge in the UK and Irish pharmaceutical company Elan has been announced.

Together the two will create a new research centre dedicated to investigating degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and creating advanced therapies.

The Cambridge-Elan Centre for Research Innovation and Drug Discovery will be based at the University of Cambridge and Elan will be investing $10 million in the five year project, with an option to extend it by a further five years.

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Researchers from both organisations want to find out if there are any compounds which are capable of altering the behaviour of proteins associated with neurodegenerative disorders.

They are hopeful that if there are it will pave the way for the development of new treatments for illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Elan's two decades of experience in Alzheimer's research and its depth in biology and model systems is an ideal base from which to form the Centre.

This will be partnered with Cambridge University’s pioneering contributions in the development of biophysical approaches to study the molecular basis of protein misfolding and aggregation and their links to disease.

Commenting on the new partnership, Elan’s Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer,  Dale Schenk, said: “This agreement is a natural next step in the existing working relationship between our scientists in South San Francisco and scientists at the University of Cambridge.

“This collaborative effort complements our portfolio of programs in neuroscience and supports the process of discovery which we believe may lead to a class of therapeutics that no one has thought possible before.”

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Aug 4, 2021

C. Light aim to detect Alzheimer's with AI and eye movements

alzheimers
AI
Technology
healthcare
3 min
C. Light aim to detect Alzheimer's with AI and eye movements
C. Light Technologies will use AI to study eye movements and monitor the progression of Alzheimer's

 C. Light Technologies, a neurotechnology and AI company based in Boston, has received funding for a pilot study that will assess changes in eye motion during the earliest stage of Alzheimer's, known as mild cognitive impairment. 

C. Light Technologies has partnered with the UCSF Memory and Aging Center for this research. As new therapeutics for Alzheimer’s are introduced to the clinic, this UCSF technology has the potential to provide clinicians a better method to measure disease progression, and ultimately therapeutic efficacy, using C. Light’s novel retinal motion technology.

Eye motion has been used for decades to triage brain health, which is why  doctors asks you to “follow my finger” when they want to assess whether you have concussion. In more than 30 years of research, studies have revealed that Alzheimer’s disease patients' eye movements are affected by the disease, though to date, these eye movements have only been measured on a larger scale.

C. Light’s research takes the eye movement tests to a microscopic level for earlier assessments. Clinicians can study and measure eye motion on a scale as small as 1/100th the size of a human hair, which can help them monitor a patient’s disease and treat it more effectively.

The tests are also easy to administer. Patients put their chin in a chinrest and  focus on a target for 10 seconds. The test does not require eye dilation, and patients are permitted to blink. A very low-level laser light is shown through the pupil and reflects off the patient’s retina, while a sensitive camera records the cellular-level motion in a high-resolution video. This eye motion is then  fed into C. Light’s advanced analytical platform.

“C. Light is creating an entirely new data stream about the status of brain health via the eye,” explains Dr. Christy K. Sheehy, co-founder of C. Light.  “Our growing databases and accompanying AI can change the way we monitor and treat neurological disease for future generations. Ultimately, we’re working to increase the longevity and quality of life for our loved ones." 

At the moment developing therapeutic treatments for the central nervous system is difficult, with success rates of only 8% to go from conception to market. One reason for this is the lack of tools to measure the progression of diseases that impact the nervous system. 

Additionally clinical trials can take a decade to come to fruition because the methods used to assess drug efficacy are inefficient. C. Light believe they can change this. 

“Before this year, it had been almost 20 years since an Alzheimer’s drug was brought to market" explains Sheehy. "Part of the reason for this very slow progress is that drug developers haven’t had viable biomarkers that they can use to effectively stratify patients and track disease on a fine scale. The ADDF’s investment will allow us to do that." 

C. Light has received the investment from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) through its Diagnostics Accelerator, a collaborative research initiative supported by Bill Gates, the Dolby family, and Jeff Bezos among other donors. 

C. Light recently completed its second and final seed round raising $500,000, including the ADDF investment, which brings their total seed funding to more than $3 million. Second round seed funders included: ADDF, the Wisconsin River Business Angels, Abraham Investments, LLC and others.
The ADDF’s Diagnostics Accelerator has made previous investments in more than two dozen world-class research programmes to explore blood, ocular, and genetic biomarkers, as well as technology-based biomarkers to identify the early, subtle changes that happen in people with Alzheimer’s. 

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