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Alzheimer’s Research UK welcomes government’s recommitment to dementia mission

One million people are predicted to be living with dementia by 2025, increasing to 1.6 million by 2040

Alzheimer's Research UK

The UK Government has made a recommitment to delivering its previously announced ‘national dementia mission’ in honour of Dame Barbara Windsor to help speed up dementia research and contribute to its pledge of doubling dementia research funding to £160m a year by 2024/25, a decision ‘warmly welcomed’ by Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The national mission, announced in August this year by the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson, also includes an additional £95m in ring-fenced funding to boost the number of clinical trials and innovative research projects.

The mission will be driven by a new taskforce – similar to the group that delivered COVID-19 vaccines – which will work in tandem with industry, the NHS, academia and families living with dementia.

David Thomas, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the charity “campaigned heavily” for the Government to accelerate efforts to develop dementia treatments and is “delighted” by its decision to move forward with the mission.

"Now these promises need to be quickly turned into action, as the need to find life-changing treatments has never been more urgent,” Thomas said.

By 2025, around one million people are predicted to be living with dementia, increasing to 1.6 million by 2040. Dementia can affect the brain years before people show any symptoms, underscoring the need for treatments to be tested on people far earlier.

The new national mission is set to build on recent advances in biological and data sciences, including genomics, artificial intelligence and the latest brain imaging technology, in order to test new treatments.

Researchers will look for signals of risk factors, which could help those who are at risk from developing dementia to understand how they might be able to slow or prevent the disease in the future.

For this vision to be realised, Alzheimer’s Research UK says the Government needs to focus on three priorities, including identifying the most promising experimental drugs to take forward from the pipeline of potential dementia medicines, creating a network of high-performing clinical trial sites across the UK so these promising new dementia drugs can be quickly tested, and using the latest cutting-edge diagnostic tests to help match the right people to the right clinical trial.

Dr Susan Kohlhaas, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “… we need to make sure we have the investment in our clinical trials infrastructure so the most promising drugs can be delivered quickly to those who will benefit the most.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

29th November 2022

From: Research

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