The UK Government is continuing its investment into dementia research with a £22 million injection of new funds.
The money will be invested into 21 research projects to boost dementia diagnosis rates and trial ground-breaking new treatments.
This has been announced today by health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who visited Lilly’s UK dementia research centre this week. During his visit, Hunt emphasised the crucial role of medical research in making breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of dementia, whilst ensuring that research can help people with dementia live well with the condition today.
The funding was awarded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and was designed to cover all areas of scientific activity relevant to dementia, across the fields of care, cure and cause, including prevention.
Hunt said: “The UK has a firm ambition to become a world leader in dementia research. It is home to some of the world’s best dementia researchers and specialist research facilities, and this government is committed to supporting them.
“To make a real difference to research, government must respond to the barriers the industry faces. It is vital that we can translate the excellent work happening in our laboratories across the country into treatments that can help people live well with dementia today, whilst ultimately working towards finding a cure.”
More than 670,000 people in England are currently diagnosed with the dementia, and this figure is set to double in the next 30 years, creating one of the biggest challenges faced by the UK in recent times.
Some of the projects awarded funding today includes trialling the use of the popular blood pressure drug losartan to complement current treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease. This trial will examine whether the drug improves blood flow to the brain and whether this can alter the chemical pathways that cause brain cell damage, brain shrinkage and memory problems.
Alzheimer’s Research UK director of research, Dr Eric Karran, said: “This is a significant boost for dementia research and we are pleased to see a wide range of projects winning support. UK research has the ability to deliver fundamental changes for people living with dementia now or at risk in future, through improved diagnosis, and, ultimately, better treatments that delay or slow down disease progression.”
Last month the Government published its first Progress Report on the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, which was launched in March 2012.
Some of the key achievements include the launch of Dementia Friends, a brand new scheme to raise public awareness of the needs of people with dementia, and a new £50 million fund to create specially adapted wards and care home spaces to improve the experience of people with dementia.