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Extra funding for UK dementia research

The UK's Department of Health has launched the 'Route Map for Dementia Research' pledging to increase funding for neurodegeneration research by ten per cent to £150m over the next four years

The UK's Department of Health (DH) has launched the 'Route Map for Dementia Research' with hopes to improve treatment for the neurodegenerative disease through increased research funding.

Created with the help of 17 experts from across government, charity, industry and research organisations, the route map describes specific plans up to 2015, including committing the Medical Research Council to increase funding for neurodegeneration research by ten per cent to £150m over the next four years.

Dr Declan Mulkeen, director of research programmes at the MRC commented: "Through investment in scientific research excellence and by working in partnership with leading charities, government and industry will speed up progress towards real improvements in early diagnosis and the development of new treatments."

The DH has also pledged up to £20m over five years for four new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Units as well as introducing new academic clinical fellowships to increase the number of experts in the field.

Strengthening links between the public and private sectors to increase partnerships was also identified as an opportunity to be developed.

"We need to better understand dementia if we are to counter its effects more successfully," said care services minister, Paul Burstow. "Research is the key to developing new treatments, transforming care and ultimately to finding a cure for this devastating disease."

Co-chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Dementia Research and chief executive at Alzheimer's Research UK, Rebecca Wood, described the plans as a "welcome step" in response to the challenge of dementia.

"UK dementia scientists punch well above their weight," said Wood, "and with greater investment from the public, private and charity sectors, we have every hope of defeating dementia. Alzheimer's Research UK is already dedicated to this and will continue to work with the government and other research funders to ensure that the route map is delivered in full."

28th June 2011

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