World Dementia Envoy appointed to speed up treatment development

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announces appointment of a new World Dementia Envoy to speed up treatment development and pledges to reduce waiting times for dementia diagnosis.

Posted on 28th February 2014

A new World Dementia Envoy has been appointed to help speed up research into the condition. Dr Dennis Gillings has been appointed to the position following December’s G8 dementia summit, at which G8 countries committed to an aim to find a cure or disease modifying treatment for the condition by 2025. Dr Gillings will create a World Dementia Council that will raise funds for research into new treatments.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt also announced a number of ambitions for people with dementia today, including a pledge for two-thirds of people with the condition to be diagnosed by March next year, and an aim for people to be given a diagnosis faster.

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We welcome the appointment of Dr Gillings as the World Dementia Envoy and the energy and coordination this should bring to international dementia research. Some of the most significant advancements in dementia science in recent times, including progress in genetic understanding, have come as a result of international collaboration. Alzheimer’s Research UK is doing more than any other UK charity to expedite new treatments, with both the establishment of a dedicated Drug Development Institute and the launch of a worldwide £3m fund for new drug target discovery, working with MRCT and the pharmaceutical industry. International efforts to develop new treatments that act on the disease processes that cause dementia must be an imperative, as current drugs only paper over the cracks for a short period – people with dementia need better.

“The pledge to speed up diagnosis of the diseases that cause dementia is also welcome. People who are worried about their memory or other cognitive problems need to know what is behind these symptoms, and to have dementia ruled in or out. Swifter diagnosis will ensure people have earlier access to support and advice, as well as therapies and treatments that might be available.”

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