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16 July, 2018 - 11:52 By Kate Sweeney

Cambridge Cognition quickens pace of dementia research

Cambridge Cognition Holdings, an AIM-quoted digital neuroscience company which develops and markets software products to assess brain health, has unveiled a new partnership with Dementias Platform UK.

DPUK is regarded as the world’s largest study group in dementia research. It was formed to accelerate the development of effective and ultimately preventative treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

DPUK is a public-private partnership, led by the Medical Research Council to expedite the development of treatments for dementia through the unique power of long-term population studies.

Along with DPUK’s seven other industry partners, each with their own specialism, Cambridge Cognition will provide DPUK with its state of the art digital cognitive assessment technology, CANTAB, for remote online testing of participants on a scale that has not previously been possible.

The CANTAB software platform – an online assessment tool to measure functions such as memory, attention, planning and decision-making which deteriorate as dementia progresses – gives researchers rapid access to rich data and helps to make participants at high risk of future dementia more easily identifiable.

Measuring the pace and variation of this change is essential for scientists who are involved in testing new treatments or in research. Carrying out such testing can often be costly and time consuming, making it out of reach for smaller studies which may lack the funding or the scientists to run physical tests.

By enabling the study participants to take the tests at home on their own computer or tablet, and by allowing the cohort scientists as much or as little control over the process as they’d like, DPUK is able to further enhance cohorts’ immensely valuable historic data, bringing it up-to-date and relevant for today’s studies into treatments for dementia.

Cambridge Cognition says it is thrilled that its expertise and technical resource in this field will benefit the 50+ population or ‘cohort’ studies that DPUK already works with, enabling them to enhance their records, thereby improving an already exceptionally high-quality data resource for scientific research and trials into dementia.

Combining CANTAB with other biomarker data will improve the understanding of what happens to brain health as we age and highlights CANTAB assessments as the gold standard in dementia research.

Professor John Gallacher, director of DPUK said: “Cambridge Cognition exemplifies the value of Dementias Platform UK; by joining us and offering this valuable service to cohorts, better data can be made available to scientists around the world. 

“This will speed up our search for new understanding of and treatments for dementias – an invaluable outcome for all.”

Dr Jenny Barnett, chief scientific officer of Cambridge Cognition added: “We are pleased to join Dementias Platform UK. By collecting digital biomarker data on cognition we will learn more about the biology of the brain and how to more effectively and efficiently run clinical studies. 
“The partnership with DPUK cements CANTAB as the gold standard technology for use in population health research and clinical trials of dementia.”

• IMAGE: Professor John Gallacher, director of DPUK. Photograph by Nicholas Irving of Oxford Neuroscience

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