Dr William McEwan, recently appointed Group Leader at UK DRI at Cambridge, has received the 2019 Lister Institute Research Prize for his work exploring protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases, and exploiting the immune system to develop treatments for these conditions.
Presented with the award by Prof Sir Alex Markham, Chairman of the Lister Institute, on Monday (24 February), Dr McEwan gave a seminar to his Cambridge colleagues outlining his recent research entitled ‘Immune control of protein aggregation in neurodegeneration’.
A key early characteristic of most neurodegenerative conditions is the aggregation of misfolded proteins in the brain. For the past few decades, scientists and the pharmaceutical industry have made therapeutic attempts to stop this process and slow the progress of these devastating diseases, with little success. Dr McEwan's innovative work explores whether we can take advantage of the immune system to target the clumping of these proteins. By ‘teaching’ the body to recognise the misfolded structures as foreign threats, similar to a virus, it may be able to eliminate them at the early stages of disease. More information on Dr McEwan’s research can be found on his UK DRI research profile.