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Dementia research scientist and marathon enthusiast runs in memory of grandfather

Article By: Charley Walker, News Editor

A medicinal chemist and dementia researcher for Alzheimer’s Research UK is raising money for the charity and paying tribute to his grandfather by taking part in the Surrey half marathon.

Dr Wren in the lab at the Oxford Drug Discovery Institute

Dr Stephen Wren, who works at the Alzheimer’s Research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute, researches novel ways of treating dementia by looking at the mechanisms behind the condition.

After joining the institute in 2015 and experiencing first had the work that Alzheimer’s Research UK funds and facilitates, he was determined to raise as much money for the charity as possible, his grandfather’s experience with dementia providing extra motivation for both his work and his fundraising.

Dr Wren, who took up running five years ago and has been taking part in marathons ever since, said: “Dementia is an increasing problem throughout the world.

“It’s important to realise that dementia isn’t caused by growing old – there are scientific mechanisms behind it and, with enough research, we can beat it.

“My grandad had dementia and it was very sad watching him decline. This gives me extra motivation to do all I can to find a treatment for the condition.

“It affects so many people – not just those who are diagnosed, but also the people around them.”

The institute where Dr Wren works is part of the wider Drug Discovery Alliance, funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK, which aims to streamline drug discovery and turn promising research into potential treatments.

Dr Wren added: “Dementia research is severely underfunded compared to other major diseases, which is why I’ve decided to fundraise for Alzheimer’s Research UK by running the Surrey Half Marathon.

“Everyone’s been really supportive and I hope I can do them proud.”

The Buckinghamshire based scientist was injured while training for the Abingdon Marathon last year and had to pull out, but signed up for March’s half marathon after a few months’ recovery, with a fundraising target of £300.

So far he has raised just under half of this target.

Kenneth Foreman, sporting events manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We want to say a big thank you to Stephen for supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK and taking on the challenge of the Surrey Half Marathon.

“When 47 million people around the world are living with dementia, it’s important we do everything we can to find an effective treatment.

“The Drug Discovery Alliance is just one of the many ways that Alzheimer’s Research UK is fighting against dementia – it currently funds the work of over 1,000 dementia researchers across the country.”


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