Some 35 partners from industry and academia have joined forces to launch the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia initiative.

The five-year EPAD programme is part of the Innovative Medicines Initiative, set up by the European Union and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. The goal is the prevention of dementia in people with evidence of the disease, such as biomarker abnormalities, who “still may have little or no complaints or clinical symptoms”.

University of Edinburgh’s Craig Ritchie, EPAD co-coordinator, said the programme is part of a global initiative “that will make a fundamental difference to the understanding and management of Alzheimer’s disease in people with very early or no symptoms at all. This could be a game-changer”.

The partners issued a statement claiming that “in contrast to several pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions pursuing this in isolation, a joint effort clearly has advantages: the identification and referral of the concerned patients is accelerated and several treatment options can be tested rapidly within one same trial”.

EPAD will establish a European-wide register of 24,000 subjects, of which 1,500 will be invited to participate in a trial to test new treatments for prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia. All data from the trial, which will take place at 30 sites within six country/regional areas, will become publically available for analysis.