Discworld author calls for more funding of Alzheimer’s research

A bit of positive news from the UK which shows how big institutions and charities can publicly get behind animal research. The author Terry Pratchett, who is best known for writing the hugely inventive Discworld novels, has handed a petition to the Gordon Brown calling on the government to increase spending on research into the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The petition has been signed by 20,000 people, including over 100 leading scientists, and is backed by the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, the UK’s leading research charity for dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Research Trust strongly supports high quality animal research, and currently funds several projects that involve the use of animals. That they do so is hardly a surprise since animal research has made a major contribution to the development of potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, some of which we discussed recently.

We wish Terry Pratchett and the Alzheimer’s Research Trust every success on this campaign. It is worth noting that one of the largest Alzheimer’s charities in the USA – The Alzheimer’s Association – is one of the few medical reasearch charities to have a public statement on its website about the need for animals in research. This is a great way fo re-enforcing the link between animal research and fight for newer treatments and better understanding, and we hope other medical research charities follow on the Alzheimer’s Association’s lead.

The Alzheimer’s Association believes that animal research is essential to biomedical research into causes, treatments and eventual cure of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. In Alzheimer research, there currently is no substitute for animal studies. The complexity and intricacy of the human brain is beyond our present capacity to simulate in man-made models,or through the use of tissue cultures or lower organisms.


Paul Browne