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‘Our biggest year yet’: Your support means momentum towards lifechanging treatments continues to grow

Since I became a Trustee of Alzheimer’s Research UK in 2014, it’s been wonderful to see how much support for our cause has grown each year – and with it, the amount we’re able to invest in research.

Today we publish our 2021/22 Annual Report, and I’m proud to say it tells the story of our biggest year yet. Between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022, your support enabled us to bounce back from one of the most challenging periods to date and invest a record £23.6m in pioneering research studies – up 36% on 2020/21.

And yet these numbers tell only a small part of the picture: behind them are countless extraordinary people who chose to support dementia research in their own personal way.

For some that meant making a donation. For others, it meant choosing to leave a gift in their Will or lending a hand at an event. Or in the case of seven-year-old Heidi Barker, it meant taking on an epic 603-mile walking challenge – the distance between Land’s End and John O’Groats.

Like so many of our amazing supporters, Heidi has personal experience of the heartbreak dementia causes. After her uncle, Ian, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she became determined to play her part in bringing about lifechanging treatments.

The good news for Heidi, and everyone touched by dementia, is that support like this is driving real progress.

Over the past year, Alzheimer’s Research UK-funded scientists have made over 500 new discoveries. Each one is like turning over a new piece of a puzzle, giving the global research community a clearer, more detailed picture of the diseases that cause dementia and how to stop them.

Teams from our Drug Discovery Alliance – bringing together academic researchers and drug discovery experts from the pharmaceutical industry – are now testing 33 new biological targets for drugs.

And this year, we began collecting data as part of the next phase of our Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases (EDoN) initiative. Research volunteers are now using the first version of a digital toolkit to monitor how they sleep, talk and even use their phones, generating data that could help identify the earliest signs of dementia, years before symptoms like memory loss show.

These are just a few of the highlights from our new Annual Report, showing that momentum towards lifechanging dementia treatments is greater than ever. And it’s all thanks to you.

To find out more, please read our 2022 Annual Report or the shorter Annual Review which summarises this record-breaking year.

About the author

Shirley Cramer

Shirley is Interim Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK. She became a Trustee in 2014 and sits on our Nominations and Governance Committee and our Scientific Advisory Board, playing a key role in driving strategy and excellence.

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