A UK Biotech Taking On the Global Dementia Epidemic

22/09/2017 - 2 minutes

This week, we have hopped across the English Channel to visit Cytox, which is improving the understanding of dementia to develop prognostic tests.

Cytox is based in Oxford, with offices in Manchester too.

Mission: Cytox is hoping to clarify the biology behind dementia risk, and use this to develop prognostic tests to identify individuals at risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Today, it is estimated that 46 million people are living with dementia worldwide, and the cost of this is $818B (€686B). These numbers are only expected to rise, so something must be done.

Current diagnostic tests such as memory testing and PET imaging either lack sensitivity or are too expensive. Early diagnosis can cut costs and have massive health benefits. This is where Cytox comes in…

Comment: The incidence of dementia is rising with the aging global population, meaning that its effects have touched almost all of us. Cytox has found that the majority of people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) would like access to early medical testing. This knowledge would give the individual the power to take control of the disease, for example, by commencing a particular treatment. If Cytox can develop a cost-effective, easy-to-perform prognostic test, there will be no shortage of users.

The next step would be to find a cure. Slovak biotech, AXON Neuroscience, has developed a vaccine that targets tau proteins, which are involved in Alzheimer’s pathophysiology. The vaccine stimulates the production of anti-tau antibodies, and it is currently undergoing Phase II trials.

Image – Alexey Arkhipov / shutterstock.com

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