Alzheimer’s Research UK has marked the first legacy event of the G8 Dementia Summit by pledging £100 million to support a five-year campaign for dementia research.
The new campaign, entitled Defeat Dementia, will aim to grow the research field and accelerate progress towards new treatments and preventions.
Responding to calls from the original summit in December 2013 for greater investment in research and partnership working, the charity has taken the lead with a long-term commitment to tackle the growing health crisis.
As part of the commitment, the charity has set up a £2 million collaborative research project at Alzheimer’s Research UK Stem Cell Research Centre, also supported by the Alborada Trust.
Lead scientist at the Centre, Dr Rick Livesey, said: "Alzheimer’s Research UK was the first to support our early work [at the Gurdon Institute at the University of Cambridge] and it’s amazing to see it develop into such an innovative area of research with so much promise for finding new treatments. By studying nerve cells in the laboratory made from skin cells of people with Alzheimer’s, we can not only understand the disease better but quickly screen compounds that could slow or stop it.
"The Alzheimer’s Research UK Stem Cell Research Centre allows us to join forces with clinicians and genetics experts at the Institute of Neurology at UCL, pooling expertise and resource. We want to learn about how the disease starts, how it spreads through the brain, how our genetics may affect our risk of Alzheimer’s, and how the damage could be stopped. Stem cell research has the ability to transform how we approach dementia science and we’re pleased that the UK can now lead the field in this important area of research."
Committed investment in dementia research
The campaign, which represents the largest UK charity commitment to dementia research, will see £100 million invested across initiatives covering diagnosis, prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Other pledges as part of ‘Defeat Dementia’ include:
• A network of Drug Discovery Institutes, worth £30 million, housed in academic centres in the UK and beyond to allow promising breakthroughs to be translated towards the clinic
• A £20 million Global Clinical Development Fund dedicated to supporting phase I and II clinical trials to take potential new treatments into testing in people as soon as possible.
Rebecca Wood, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, added: "The G8 Dementia Summit in December 2013 called for greater investment in research, sharing of data, collaborations and cross-industry partnerships to push forward progress for people with dementia. ‘Defeat Dementia’ is our response to these calls, and affirms our long-term commitment to improving the lives of people with dementia and their families.
"As a fundraising charity we rely almost entirely on donations to fund our research but with heightened focus on dementia, the time is right to call on the UK public to help us reach our target. Today’s Global Dementia Legacy Event is focusing on how to attract global investment into dementia research and we’re proud to have set the bar high for other organisations across the world."