SCIENTISTS at the University of Limerick have been awarded €5.4 million in funding to develop a nanoscope which will allow the screening of patient cells for Alzheimers disease.
The research team based at the Materials and Surface Science Institute (MSSI), are leading a European consortium that is developing the nanoscope.
Dr Syed Tofail, Lead Scientist on the project said: “Early detection of Alzheimers is critical in developing effective treatments for the disease and there is currently no test available. Our technique would be able to detect Alzheimers-related amyloid plaques in the early stage with much more detail.”
Over 44,000 people are affected by Alzheimers and other forms of dementia in Ireland.
There are 7.7 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide, which equates to one new case every four seconds.
The prototype nanoscope which is being developed by the UL-based consortium will be easy to use, flexible and allow direct imaging of the chemistry and the structure of very small features.
Prof Noel O’Dowd, director of MSSI says Label Free Nanoscopy Using Infra-Red (LANIR) technology improves the resolving power by almost 5 orders of magnitude.
“This is truly ground breaking technology which at the same time has a solid foundation which will allow it to be widely applied by scientists and engineers from a range of discipline,” he said.