Alzheimer's research 'needs new strategy'
A shift in medical research priorities is needed to meet the challenge of fighting dementia, say animal welfare campaigners. Animal research into new therapies has failed to deliver after years of experiments, they say. Instead, labs should focus on human-based models such as brain scanning or studies of cells grown from patients.
Alzheimer's Research UK said no single approach could provide answers to such a complex disease. Dr Gillian Langley, a scientist and consultant for the animal welfare charity, Humane Society International, is among a growing body of scientists who believe current research relies too much on animal models. "Medical research is at a tipping point," she told BBC News.
"There is a growing realisation that animal studies are not producing the breakthroughs we're hoping for." Writing in the journal Drug Discovery Today, she said it was time to consider a new paradigm in medical research for Alzheimer's disease.
Research was "lagging behind" areas such as toxicology, which is using research based on molecular disease pathways within cells and new tools such as genomics, she said. "We need this overarching view - a new framework so we can use these 21st Century tools."