Autumn budget misses mark for dementia

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By Philip Tubby | Thursday 23 November 2017

Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on the government to make continued commitments that support world-class research to address dementia – the leading cause of death in the UK and most feared condition of people over the age of 55.

This comes in the wake of today’s budget announcement of plans to support sector growth through R&D and additional funding for the NHS. Both of these areas are critical to the work taking place now to bring about the first life-changing treatment for the diseases that cause dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. This support is a welcome commitment to the life sciences sector and patient care, but Alzheimer’s Research UK believes more can be done to bridge the gap in dementia research, which falls 30 years behind cancer and 20 years behind HIV/AIDS in terms of funding and drug discovery.

Dr Matt Norton, Director of Policy and Impact for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We believe now is a critical time to be bold in dementia research. Dementia is now the UK’s leading cause of death and the only condition in the top 10 global causes of death without effective treatments to prevent, cure or slow it. While we welcome the additional increases to the NHS’s resources and R&D investment, Alzheimer’s Research UK believes dementia research and the search for effective new treatment needs to be an intentional part of future budgetary plans.

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is asking the government to renew its commitment to this effort by increasing the annual budget for dementia research to a minimum of £132m by 2022. Government funding also needs to ready our health system for future dementia treatments, and support discussions between researchers and health agencies early in the treatment development process to ensure advances in science reach people with dementia as quickly as possible.

“While we have seen incredible progress in the past decade within dementia research, we must continue working to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025. This goal can only be achieved through the collective efforts of government, research, charities, and people affected by dementia.”


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Philip Tubby