Five-year £100m campaign will include stem cell research centre and network of drug discovery institutes
Alzheimer’s Research UK has pledged £100m over five years to tackle dementia.
The charity's Defeat Dementia campaign aims to expand research and accelerate progress towards new treatments and preventions for the disease. It will include setting up a Stem Cell Research Centre, a £2m collaborative venture between the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge and University College London to understand the causes of Alzheimer’s and screen potential new treatments.
The project will also involve a network of Drug Discovery Institutes, worth £30m, housed in academic establishments in the UK and a £20m Global Clinical Development Fund to allow for Phase I and II clinical trials 'to test the treatments of tomorrow as soon as possible'.
The Discovery Institutes will complement the work of the Dementia Consortium, a global collaboration announced last year, bringing together Alzheimer’s Research UK, MRC technology and the pharmaceutical companies Eisai and Eli Lilly.
We are taking a range of approaches to bring patient benefit as soon as possible
Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said pharmaceutical funding of dementia research 'has been under sustained pressure, with recent phase III trials not meeting their clinical endpoints'.
'The worry is that dementia will fall out of favour as a target for pharmaceutical R&D, and that progress will continue to be slow for those affected by the condition,' he said.
He added that Defeat Dementia aims to 'reignite R&D into the diseases that cause dementia and we are taking a range of approaches to bring patient benefit as soon as possible'.
A report has been released by Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Office of Health Economics, which suggests that an intervention to delay the onset of dementia by five years could cut the number of people affected by the disease by a third, resulting in 565,913 fewer informal carers by 2050, and create a 36% cost saving to the UK economy (£38.2bn compared with £59.4bn expected in 2050).