Research and drug development for dementia to be fast tracked says PM

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David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron

Research and development of new drugs for dementia will be fast tracked, Prime Minister David Cameron will announce today after World Dementia Envoy Dennis Gillings warned a global summit that more must be done to meet last year’s G8 pledge to find a cure by 2025.

Speaking at the Global Dementia Legacy Event in London following Gillings’ speech, Cameron will announce a package of initiatives to ensure the UK plays a leading role in fulfilling the promise of last year’s G8 summit on dementia. These will include an innovative new research project funded by the Medical Research Council which will launch the world’s largest study group into dementia research. Leading dementia charity Alzheimer’s Society will be speaking at the event and confirming its commitment to £100 million over 10 years into research for care and support today and for a cure for tomorrow.

Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Jeremy Hughes said:

‘We have seen the huge progress that has been delivered for cancer research because of a sustained boost in funding and now need the same for people with dementia. Today’s announcements mean the UK is leading the fight in dementia research but our global partners will be crucial to fulfilling the promise of the G8.’

The announcement comes as a new report from Alzheimer’s Research UK suggests that a drug to delay the onset of dementia by five years could reduce cases by a third and alleviate economic cost by 36%, or over £21 billion by 2050.

Figures released by Alzheimer’s Research UK today suggest that a potential drug to slow disease progression could mean the UK having 666,000 fewer cases of dementia and 566,000 fewer carers by 2050. The findings, part of the charity’s report ‘Defeat Dementia’, also suggest that the number of over 60s living with dementia will double to 2million in by 2050 and that the economic cost of the condition will double to £59.4billion by 2050. 

In response to the findings from Alzheimer’s Research UK report ‘Defeat Dementia’, Jeremy Hughes commented:

‘We know that for people with dementia one of their greatest wishes is for extra time with loved ones. This report shows that whilst delaying the onset of dementia by five years has a crucial human benefit, it could also reduce the huge economic toll of dementia by a third.

This research should be a clarion call to government and industry that we need large scale investment into research for new dementia treatments. We need the same kind of huge investment we’ve seen in cancer and AIDS if we are to give people precious years back by delaying the onset of dementia, improve the quality of their life through better care and then achieve last year’s G8 pledge of a cure for dementia by 2025.’

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