Hope for Alzheimer's blossoms

08/02/05

A substance found in the Welsh national flower, which could offer hope for sufferers of Alzheimer's disease, is being supported for large scale manufacture by Cardiff University's Manufacturing Engineering Centre (MEC).

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, making up 55 per cent of all cases of dementia. Dementia affects one person in 20 over the age of 65 and one person in five over the age of 80.

Certain species of daffodil, which thrive in the Black Mountains of South Powys, produce galanthamine, a leading drug in the alleviation of memory loss symptoms.

The University's Manufacturing Engineering Centre is now helping a company Alzeim Ltd (supported by Glasu, the EU funded LEADER+ Programme in Powys) to develop the agricultural potential of the daffodil as a medicinal plant along with the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

The Centre is providing support from harvesting in the field to marketing the pharmaceutical product. This includes assisting with the science of developing crops more than once a year and helping growers to assess when the best time to harvest the crop.

Frank Marsh, Marketing Director, The Manufacturing Engineering Centre said: "Galanthamine has major investment potential. Furthermore, the potential for Welsh hill farms is huge. The benefits are extensive, not only to Welsh bioscience and the pharmaceutical industry, but also to the ageing population."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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