Department of Health and Social Care
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More funding for dementia research

More funding for dementia research

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 28 June 2011

More money and expertise will be ploughed in to dementia research in the hope of moving closer to finding a cure or better treatment for the millions of families affected by this devastating condition, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow announced today.

The Minister has joined forces with 17 experts and interested parties from across Government, universities, charities, industry and research organisations to look at ways to work together to increase the volume and impact of dementia research and improve the lives those living with this devastating condition.

They have today launched a ‘Route Map for Dementia Research’ which:

• pledges up to £20 million from the Department of Health over five years for four new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Units;

• commits the Medical Research Council to increase funding for neurodegeneration research by ten percent to £150million over the next four years to 2015;

• boosts the number of experts in the dementia field through new Academic Clinical Fellowships;

• strengthens links between public and private research sectors to identify new opportunities for partnership; and

• ensures more patients and carers get involved in research through the NIHR’s Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network which will facilitate research in the NHS and care home sector.

The Ministerial Advisory Group on Dementia Research covers the full range of scientific activity around care for people with dementia, cure and prevention. They identified specific areas most urgently in need of good quality research including the evaluation of prevention and public health interventions,
the influence of genes and the environment in the development of the disease, alternatives to antipsychotic drugs, stem cell research, and a better understanding of how the brain is affected by dementia.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said:

“Dementia is one of the biggest challenges we face. It's an indiscriminate disease that cruelly chips away at our loved ones, leaving those living with it in fear of losing the very essence of who they are.

“We need to better understand dementia if we are to counter its effects more successfully. Research is the key to developing new treatments, transforming care and ultimately to finding a cure for this devastating disease.

“We spent almost £19 million on dementia research last year. But more must be done, that’s why the Coalition Government made this commitment to increase dementia research. I am delighted that we have been able to unveil this plan to drive forward research“.

Dr Declan Mulkeen, Director of Research Programmes at the Medical Research Council (MRC), said:

"Neurodegenerative diseases, which include Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, can be devastating for those affected and for their families and friends. Through investment in scientific research excellence and by working in partnership with leading charities, Government and industry, the MRC will speed up progress towards real improvements in early diagnosis and the development of new treatments."

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

1. For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health news desk on 020 7210 5221.

2. For a copy of the Headline Report and Route Map please go to:

3. The Department of Health spent £18.6m on dementia research in 2010-11.

4. The areas of research identified by the Ministerial Advisory Group on Dementia as high level priorities are: evaluation of prevention strategies and public health interventions; interaction between environment and genetic risks; alternatives to antipsychotic drug use; social care research; behavioural and psychological interventions; quality of end of life/palliative care; impact of built environment and assistive technology; carer health and well-being and effectiveness of carer interventions; quality and impact of acute care; assessment of different models of community-based care; development of predictive animal/cellular models; better understanding of the interplay of disease pathologies; alternatives to the amyloid cascade hypothesis; stem cell research; provider training and service development; co morbidity and the connection between physical and cognitive factors; and falls prevention.

5. The Department of Health (DH) works to improve the health and well-being of people in England. The Department sets overall policy on all health issues and is responsible for the provision of health services through the National Health Service. See:

6. The Department of Health Research and Development budget for 2010/11 was £980 million. The DH R&D budget supports research through two routes: the National Institute for Health Research (£936m); and the DH Policy Research Programme (£44m). The NIHR commissions research for practice – in the NHS, public health and social care. The PRP commissions research to support policy-making in the Department.

7. The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients.

8. NIHR Biomedical Research Units in dementia - Following the coalition government’s commitment to dementia as a research priority, the Department of Health via the NIHR has committed to establish up to four new NIHR Biomedical Research Units (BRUs) in dementia within NHS/university partnerships. The new NIHR BRUs in dementia will deliver translational research aiming to pull through findings from basic science into benefits for patients. NIHR BRUs drive innovation in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of ill-health and are a key component of the NHS contribution to our nation's international competitiveness, building on the best research leaders and enabling host institutions to achieve critical mass in specific priority research areas. NIHR currently supports research in dementia through its Biomedical Research Centres and research programmes. The new Units will be announced in September 2011. Go to:

9. The NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowships are part of the Integrated Academic Training Programme that provides a clear, coherent and integrated training and career path for medically and dentally qualified academic staff. NIHR ACF posts are aimed at those who are at the early stages of their specialty training and show outstanding potential for a career in academic medicine or dentistry. The duration of an ACF is for a maximum of 3 years (4 years for GPs). During this time, alongside clinical training, ACFs will be able to develop their academic skills and be supported in preparing an application for a Research Training Fellowship (to undertake a higher research degree) or an application for a place on an educational programme (leading to a higher degree). For further details are available at:

10. For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved the health of people in the UK and around the world by supporting the highest quality science. The MRC invests in world-class scientists. It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains a flourishing environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and provides the financial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs, including one of the first antibiotics penicillin, the structure of DNA and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of the 21st century.

11. The Ministerial Advisory Group on Dementia Research’s membership was:

Paul Burstow, MP (Chair) - Minister of State for Care Services

Adrian Alsop* - Director for Research, Economic and Social Research Council

Professor Clive Ballard - Head of Research, Alzheimer's Society

Dr Peter Barnes - Medical Director, Janssen-Cilag Ltd

David Behan - Director General for Social Care, Local Government and Partnerships, DH and Chair of the National Dementia Strategy Board

Professor Alistair Burns - DH National Clinical Director for Dementia and Professor of Old Age Psychiatry, University of Manchester

Professor Dame Sally C Davies - Director General, Research and Development, Department of Health

Stephen Ford - Chief Executive, the Parkinson’s Disease Society

Professor James Goodwin - Head of Research, Help the Aged and Age Concern

Baroness Sally Greengross - Vice Chair, All Parliamentary Group on Dementia and Older People, House of Lords

Professor Chris Kennard - Chair of the Neurosciences and Mental Health Board, Medical Research Council

Professor Richard Morris - Special Advisor, Wellcome Trust

Dr Declan Mulkeen* - Director of Research and Training, Medical Research Council

Baroness Elaine Murphy - Secretary, All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, House of Lords

Professor Martin Rossor - Director of the Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network (DeNDRoN)

Noreen Siba - Managing Director, International Longevity Centre UK

Rebecca Wood - Chief Executive, Alzheimer's Research Trust and Chair of UKARF Working Group on Dementia Research

Barbara Woodward-Carlton - Lay member of DeNDRoN Clinical Studies Board (Dementia)

* The Engineering and Physical Science Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have agreed that they will be represented jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Medical Research Council.


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