The Lewy Body Society has announced that the latest recipients of its grant programme will be University of Cambridge, Newcastle University and Imperial College London, taking its funding grand total to over £1 million since it supported its first PhD student in 2007.

The charity is awarding three grants totalling £314,000 for the projects, and is now seeking applications for its next round of funding. All of the charity’s funding is received from voluntary donations and earned income, and it receives no statutory funding.

The aims of the studies will be to identify any existing drugs used for other diseases which might be ‘repurposed’ to treat dementia with Lewy bodies, so that new trials for these compounds can be undertaken, and also to to design a cerebrospinal fluid test to help diagnose dementia with Lewy bodies.

Additionally the Imperial College study will examine brain tissue from patients with dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease dementia, and Parkinson’s without dementia, to identify differences in brain cell degeneration. This will inform the development of more tailored treatment options which can target different areas depending on the condition.

Jacqueline Cannon, chief executive of the Lewy Body Society, said: “Most of our funding comes from people directly affected by Lewy body dementia, through fundraising events, funeral donations and buying Christmas cards and badges. We would like to thank every single one of them, as they are making a real difference to improving the awareness and understanding of this difficult disease.

“Through our grants programme we are working with dedicated experts across the country who are striving to find better ways to identify and treat the disease in future. We would like to encourage any researchers who may be interested in applying for a grant to get in touch.”

Lewy body dementia is the second most common form of dementia, which causes a progressive decline in mental abilities. People with Lewy body dementia may experience visual hallucinations, and changes in alertness and attention.