This month we’ll be at the political party conferences urging all parties to continue to back dementia research. With no new drugs since 2003, and those in existence only showing modest efficacy, we desperately need new treatments that can delay the onset, slow the progression and manage the symptoms of dementia. Only through research can we make progress and offer hope to people with dementia.
Recent failed drug trials and research strongly suggest that we need to intervene at a much earlier stage in the disease process. If we target correctly and delay the onset by five years, it would halve the number of people dying with dementia. This could be transformational given the huge societal, economic and personal impact of dementia.
Searching for the answers
Alzheimer’s Research UK has a clear strategy. We’ll translate academic success into patient benefit. Two innovative projects spearhead this work:
- A programme bringing together academia and pharmaceutical partners in a search for new drug treatments
- A major study monitoring people in those critical years where we see the onset of dementia.
Both could lead to crucial developments in detecting the earliest signs of dementia and the development of potential drug targets. By collaborating, we hope to pool the brightest minds and capitalise on pioneering research already taking place. This is critical if we want to speed up progress.
Our vision is to defeat dementia. Critical to our success is the right drug, for the right patient, at the right time. Research is making huge strides, but without continued investment we will be failing the hundreds of thousands living with dementia. We need sustained increases in funding beyond 2015 to bring dementia research in line with areas like cancer research. A tall order, but we must aim high if we want to see real advances made.