Department of Health and Social Care
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More help for dementia research

More help for dementia research

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 05 November 2009

Scientists in the field of dementia research will get more help to access funding thanks to a new ministerial group, which will drive forward research into the causes, cure and care of dementia, Care Services Minister Phil Hope announced today.

The new group, chaired by Phil Hope, will also focus on increasing the volume, quality and impact of dementia research.

It follows the Government’s Dementia Research Summit in July at which leading experts identified priority areas for dementia research. The priority areas, which ranged from basic biomedical science, to practical steps that could boost dementia research, will provide a basis for the group.

They include:

· ensuring better use of existing funding opportunities;
· increasing public support for dementia research;
· giving people with dementia better access to clinical trials;
· ensuring research translates to better treatment and care; and
· strengthen collaborative work, especially with the commercial sector.

Care Services Minister Phil Hope said:

“A cure for cancer is traditionally seen as the Holy Grail of medical science. But in an ageing world where more and more of us will succumb to dementia, we need to view a cure for dementia in a similar light.

“Dementia is one of the most important issues we face as the population ages – it has been in the shadows for too long.

“This year we launched the first National Dementia Strategy and I want to build on that foundation. We invested £32 million in dementia research last year, but much more must be done to make the most of existing opportunities. Research is the key to developing new treatments, transforming care and ultimately finding a cure for this devastating condition. This new ministerial group will help drive change forward.”

Neil Hunt, Chief Executive Alzheimer’s Society said:

“This is a significant development in the fight against dementia. One in three people over 65 will die with dementia yet research into its causes and a potential cure is desperately under funded. This announcement is recognition of the need for a clear plan to drive forward and lead dementia research. It has the potential to change lives. We look forward to working with the Government to galvanise dementia research and towards a world where dementia can be defeated.”

Notes to Editors

1. Key Stats

The Government invested £32 million in dementia research in 2008 and a further £30million initiative to boost research into neurodegenerative diseases has been launched by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust.700,000 people have dementia in the UK and this number will rise to 1million in the next ten years. Dementia is one of the main causes of disability in later life, ahead of some cancers, cardiovascular disease and stroke.One in three people over 65 will die with a form of dementia. There are 15,000 people under the age of 65 with dementia.Dementia costs the economy £17 billion a year.

2. The Government’s Dementia Strategy can be found at www.dh.gov.uk/dementia.

3. About the group

The new group members will include the main bodies with a stake in the future of dementia research, including government, charities and the commercial sector. It will be chaired by Phil Hope, Minister of State for Care services.

The new group will focus on increasing the volume, quality and impact of dementia research and aim to help scientists in the field of dementia research get more access to existing funding.

The Group will encompass the full range of relevant scientific activity, from basic biomedical, through applied clinical, to heath and care services research, covering work on cause, prevention, cure and care.

4. About the research summit

The Department of Health and Medical Research Council held a dementia summit on July 21 st 2009. The aim of the summit was to identify gaps and opportunities for dementia research. A full report of the research summit findings is available on request.

Contacts:

Department of Health
Phone: 020 7210 5221
NDS.DH@coi.gsi.gov.uk

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