UK commits to new action to find breakthrough on dementia
19 Jun 2014 02:48 PM
Prime Minister commits
to new action to accelerate progress on dementia drugs, with a focus on
patents, funding and patient access to new
- World Dementia Envoy says
progress on research has been “achingly slow” and “a cure
impossible without a shift in approach”
- UK launches world’s
biggest study group for dementia and a new £100 million research
The Prime Minister David Cameron
will today pledge a new drive by the UK to discover new drugs and treatment
that could slow down the onset of dementia or even deliver a cure by
Speaking at a summit of world
health and finance leaders in London, Mr Cameron will say immediate action is
needed to address a market failure on dementia research and drug development,
which had seen global spending on dementia at five times below research on
cancer, with only three drugs making it onto the market in the last 15
years. Watch the Global Dementia
Legacy Event live.
The UK will bring forward
specific proposals on patent extensions, earlier access to new drugs for
patients, greater research collaboration and facilitating much high-levels of
investment, by October this year.
The commitment comes as the new
World Dementia Envoy, Dr Dennis Gillings, warns that if global leaders do not
incentivise businesses to invest in research and bring in faster, cheaper
clinical trials, they will not meet the ambition to find a cure or disease
modifying therapy by 2025.
The Prime Minister will say that
much is already happening – with the UK doubling funding for dementia by
2015 and the Medical Research Council using the event to announce the creation
of the world’s biggest study group for dementia, involving two million
people, alongside a £100 million research pledge from Alzheimer’s
Research UK – but that more is needed globally.
Dr Gillings, working directly
with the UK, will also commit to looking at ways of bringing forward a global
fund that could draw billions in private and public investment specifically
focussed on dementia.
The Prime Minister will use a
follow-up conference to last December’s G8 Summit on Dementia to
encourage leading nations to follow the UK’s commitment.
He will hold specific talks with
leaders in business, finance and pharmaceuticals to say that the status quo is
not good enough and that governments, business and the wider health sector must
work together to accelerate progress on innovative drugs and
The Prime Minister David Cameron
The truth is that dementia now
stands alongside cancer as one of the greatest enemies of
In the UK alone there are around
800,000 people living with dementia, worldwide that number is 40 million
– and it is set to double every twenty years.
We have to fight to cure it. I
know some people will say that it’s not possible, but we have seen with
cancer what medicine can achieve.
We first need to tackle head-on
the market failure perilously undermining dementia research and drug
development. And we need investment in research, greater collaboration, better
incentives for taking new treatments to market and earlier access to innovative
new treatments for patients.
We need to join up the dots and
create a big, bold global push to beat this.
It will take years of work but
we have shown with other diseases that we can make progress and we will do so
The event in London is the first
of four global Legacy events that follow the G8 Dementia Summit and global
experts will use the meeting to examine setting up a global fund that would
allow new, innovative drugs to be developed faster.
World Dementia Envoy, Dr
Gillings, will say:
Dementia is a ticking bomb
costing the global economy £350 billion ($600bn) and yet progress with
research is achingly slow. Research must become more attractive to
pharmaceuticals so they will invest and innovate.
Just as the world came together
in the fight against HIV/AIDS, we need to free up regulation so that we can
test ground-breaking new drugs, and examine whether the period for market
exclusivity could be extended.
Without this radical change, we
won’t make progress in the fight against dementia.
In consultation with Dr
Gillings, the UK Government will focus on ways to encourage investment in new
dementia drugs by helping innovative research and development
The work will look
- Giving patients earlier access
to new drugs that would take years to become available in the current
- Working with manufacturers,
regulators and developers to ensure there is a sliding scale that ensures new
dementia medicines are affordable to countries across the
- Working with the international
community to discuss ways of creating a global fund to bring about new advances
in drug development
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt,
We owe it to the 44 million
people living with dementia across the world to find new treatments for this
cruel condition. But with the latest research from the LSE now showing that a
treatment to delay onset by three years could save the UK as much as £5
billion a year, we must redouble our efforts to respond to this moral and
I hope today will help give
dementia research in this country and around the world the important boost
- The World Dementia Envoy
challenges G7 leaders to incentivize global pharmaceutical companies to develop
new drug therapies, in a similar way to catalyse treatments for HIV/AIDS in the
late 1980s. This forms part of the strategic plan of the World Dementia Envoy
and the Members of the World Dementia Council to deliver against their six
priorities (Finance, Research collaboration, Regulation and Trials, Sharing
knowledge, Health and Care and Awareness.
- The Prime Minister announced a
comprehensive examination to find ways of increasing the accelerating and
sustaining growth in dementia innovation in the UK including getting medicines
to patients earlier, patent extension and research collaborations. The
examination will report this autumn.
- The Alzheimer’s Research
UK campaign will see £100 million investment across initiatives covering
diagnosis, prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Pledges as part of ‘Defeat Dementia’ include the launch today of
the Alzheimer’s Research UK Stem Cell Research Centre, a network of Drug
Discovery Institutes, worth £30m, housed in academic centres in the UK
and beyond to allow promising breakthroughs to be translated towards the clinic
and a £20m 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.
- The Medical Research Council has
today launched the world’s biggest research cohort for use in dementias
research through a new PPP involving 6 biopharma companies, all of whom will be
agreeing to commit financially to UKDP in partnership. This Public-Private
Partnership ‘the UK Dementias Research Platform’ includes over
£16m funding (of which £12m is from the MRC plus company
contributions). After a limited exclusion period for consortium partners, all
UKDP data will be made available to the global research
- New research by Professor Martin
Knapp at the London School of Economics suggests the annual cost of dementia in
the UK is approximately £21 billion. The research also shows that a
treatment delaying the onset of dementia by 36 months would save the UK as much
as £5 billion a year.
- As part of its Presidency of the
G8, the UK led an all-out global fight back against dementia. It started with a
summit in London on 11 December, bringing together health and science ministers
from all the G8 countries, world-leading experts and researchers, leaders of
the global pharmaceutical industries and the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) to accelerate progress towards effective
treatments and cures.
- The 2013 G8 Dementia Summit
resulted in two significant documents that set out an agreed vision for
international collaboration on dementia and a series of high level actions.
These documents, the declaration and communique and the full list of
commitments are available at:
- the decision to appoint a World
Dementia Envoy to draw together international expertise to stimulate innovation
and to co-ordinate international efforts to attract new sources of finance,
including exploring the possibility of developing a private and philanthropic
fund to support global dementia innovation.
- the ambition to identify a cure
or a disease-modifying therapy for dementia by 2025 and to increase
collectively and significantly the amount of funding for dementia research to
reach that goal.
- the commitment to hold a series
of high-level events throughout 2014 and 2015, in partnership with the OECD,
WHO, the European Commission, the EU Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative
Disease Research (JPND), and civil society, to develop cross sector
partnerships and innovation.
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Today the Medical Research Council (MRC) launched the world’s largest
study group for research into dementias. In total two million people will take
part in the study which has three main aims:
- To identify better cognitive and
biological measures (biomarkers) to understand better who is at risk of
developing dementia and why the progression of dementia varies from person to
- To develop new and improved
biomarkers to allow more precise selection of participants for new clinical
- To slow the progression of
dementia by working out how existing drugs, developed for other conditions, may
impact the progression of dementia.
This £16 million project
– called the UK Dementias Research Platform – is being led by the
MRC and has support from partners pharmaceutical giants and smaller biotech
companies; MedImmune, the global biologics research & development arm of
AstraZeneca; GSK; Araclon; IXICO; Janssen Research & Development in
collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation; and SomaLogic. The deal
has brought US firm SomaLogic to operate in the UK for the first
The project will also ensure
data will be made available globally to aid international scientists in
ground-breaking new research to incentivise innovation, after a short
Professor Sir John Savill, Chief
Executive of the Medical Research Council, said:
In this partnership, the MRC is
bringing together the best the UK has to offer - great population studies, a
distinguished pedigree of partnerships with industry, and excellent discovery
science. It’s a strategy that combines academic excellence and industry
strength in a completely new approach to dementias research.
Alzheimer’s Research UK
(ARUK) Today, Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) has unveiled a new
£100 million Defeat Dementia campaign to defeat dementia and increase
As part of the campaign ARUK
will launch today:
- a £30 million investment
in a network of new Drug Discovery Institutes in academic centres in the UK to
encourage pioneering drug research.
- a £20 million Global
Clinical Development Fund which aims to trial new treatments and give patients
advanced access to revolutionary drugs once developed
- a £2 million collaboration
between University of Cambridge and UCL that will use donated cells from people
with Alzheimer’s to test potential new treatments
Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of
Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
Alzheimer’s Research UK is
uniquely well placed to respond to Dr Gillings’ challenge to reignite
dementia research and development. Planned investment through our Defeat
Dementia campaign will feed innovative academic discoveries into the drug
development pipeline, helping treatments to reach people with dementia more
quickly. It’s imperative that efforts to remove regulatory barriers are
successful to allow new dementia research partnerships to thrive and deliver on
At the event, the
Alzheimer’s Society will reiterate its commitment, made at the G8, to
spend £100 million on dementia research over the next ten years –
including £15 million on studies to examine whether commonly available
drugs could double as dementia treatments and over £30 million training
the next generation of dementia researchers.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive
of Alzheimer’s Society said:
The goal of research is to
develop treatments to slow down the condition, understand how people can live
well and eventually deliver a cure for dementia. Alzheimer’s Society will
spend over £100 million on research over the next decade in advancing
care and support today as well as cure for tomorrow’
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
Number of people with dementia
in the UK is 800,000 and numbers are expected to double within thirty
Current estimates indicate 44.4
million people worldwide are living with dementia but with the world’s
populations ageing, the World Health Organisation estimates that this number
will nearly double every 20 years, to an estimated 65.7 million in 2030, and
115.4 million in 2050.
The devastating human cost is
echoed by its huge economic costs. The total estimated worldwide costs of
dementia were US$604 billion in 2010. About 70 per cent of the costs occur in
Western Europe and North America.