Boris Johnson has launched a new national mission to tackle dementia, pledging to double research funding to £160 million a year by 2024.
An additional £95 million in ringfenced funding will support the Dame Barbara Windsor Dementia Mission in memory of the late actor, boosting the number of clinical trials and innovative research projects. The move reflects a Conservative manifesto commitment to double dementia research funding by 2024. A new taskforce will bring together industry, the NHS, academia, and families living with dementia.
One million people are predicted to be living with dementia by 2025, and 1.6 million by 2040. Up to 40 per cent of dementia cases are potentially preventable but causes are still poorly understood.
The new national mission will build on recent advances in biological and data sciences, including genomics, AI, and the latest brain imaging technology, to test new treatments from a growing range of possible options. Researchers will look for signals of risk factors which could help those who are at risk from developing dementia to understand how they might be able to slow or prevent the disease in the future.
Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay said: “Anyone who lives with dementia, or has a loved one affected, knows the devastating impact this condition can have on their daily lives, but for too long our understanding of its causes have not been fully understood.
“By harnessing the same spirit of innovation that delivered the vaccine rollout, this new dementia mission, backed by £95 million of government funding, will help us find new ways to deliver earlier diagnosis, enhanced treatments and ensure a better quality of life for those living with this disease, both now and in the future.”
Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, commented: “We’re delighted the Government has recommitted to doubling dementia research funding, and that our call for a dementia medicines taskforce to speed up the development of new treatments has been heard. This marks an important step towards finding life-changing treatments for dementia and supporting our NHS to be able to deliver these new medicines to the people who need them when they become available.”