Paul Burstow: More funding for dementia research

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“.