SCIENTISTS in Southampton will benefit from a landmark £1.2m investment to boost vital dementia research.

City experts working towards a cure for the devastating disorder are celebrating the cash injection, which will be used to test new ideas and improve future research.

The University of Southampton is one of 15 centres of scientific excellence that is going to get a share of the money being pledged by Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The university will receive £70,000 as part of the scheme, which has been launched ahead of National Alzheimers Day on Friday, October 17.

Its scientists have been working in partnership with colleagues from Bournemouth and Sussex Universities and Brighton and Sussex Medical School since 2002, forming the charity’s South Coast Research Network.

More than 7,000 people in the three cities are diagnosed with the condition each year, which normally strikes in old age.

South coast scientists have been instrumental in contributing to important UK-wide studies from the analysis of clinical trials in dementia to studying Alzheimer’s-related changes in the brain.

Research includes studying the structure of toxic proteins in the brain, how the immune system alters the disease’s progression and how changes in the brain cause learning and memory problems.

The network helps support researchers, encourage experts to pool their expertise and to attract new scientists working to understand the condition more.

Network centre co-ordinator Dr Amrit Mudher, associate professor at Southampton University, pictured, said: “This cash injection to the south coast allows us to learn from each other’s experiences and progress, to make sure we are answering the right questions that will ultimately lead to a cure for dementia in the future.

“The network allows scientists to place their findings in the wider context of dementia research, and draw on other people’s expertise to make the journey, from an interesting idea to patient benefit, that much easier.”

The new funding is part of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s £100m Defeat Dementia fundraising campaign, which was announced by the Prime Minister David Cameron in June.