Understanding whether drugs for rheumatoid arthritis can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Status / Stage
Alzheimer's Society
Funding Amount
Funder/Grant study page
Alzheimer's Society
Contracted Centre
Queen's University Belfast
Contracted Centre Webpage
Principal Investigator
Dr Bernadette McGuinness
PI Contact
WHO Catergories
Development of novel therapies
Understanding Underlying Disease
Disease Type
Alzheimer's Disease (AD)

CPEC Review Info
Reference ID44
ResearcherReside Team


Status / StageActive
Funder/Grant study pageAlzheimer's Society
Contracted CentreQueen's University Belfast
Contracted Centre Webpage
Funding Amount£399,993.00


The researchers will carry out a comprehensive study on the effect of TNFα inhibitors on memory and thinking abilities. They will particularly focus on people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition that in some cases can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.Dr McGuinness and her team will recruit people with rheumatoid arthritis from rheumatology day centres in Belfast and Southampton. Those who are found to have MCI will be invited to take part in the study. The participants will then be visited by a specialist nurse who will test their memory and thinking abilities. The visits will take place every 6 months over an 18 month period. The team will use their findings to compare the memory and thinking abilities of people taking TNFα inhibitors to those on other types of rheumatoid arthritis drugs. This will indicate whether the TNFα inhibitors have any effect on the risk of progression from MCI to Alzheimer’s disease. If this study finds that people taking TNFα inhibitors appear to be at a reduced risk of dementia, this should pave the way for a clinical trial to further test the effects of these drugs. Investigating drugs that are already licenced for other conditions is a key part of Alzheimer’s Society’s Drug Discovery programme. This innovative method means that if an existing drug is found to be effective for people with dementia, it could be brought to the people who need it in half the time it takes to develop a drug from scratch.