A chance not to be missed


By Katy Riddick | Monday 09 December 2013

This week in London marks a pivotal moment in dementia research; it will either be considered a time of historical significance when global interests align under a banner of defeating dementia, or an instance in which a global health crisis was only superficially addressed by the world’s largest economies.

The G8 Dementia Summit

Heads of State and Government will gather at the G8 Summit on Dementia on 11 December to discuss the priorities of the international community and decide a way forward for the world.  The themes that emerge from the summit will shape the global policy perspective on dfementia for the foreseeable future, and will impact the lives of the 44 million people currently living with the condition worldwide.

We need decisive action like we’ve had in the fight against HIV / AIDS

If we take a moment to look back at the 2003 G8 Summit in Evian where HIV/AIDS was the subject of special focus, we can also chart the turning point of international attention on a disease whose scale impacted the global economy.  Within the last few years, the rate of new HIV infections as well as deaths related to AIDS have dropped to their lowest levels since the epidemic reached its peak in the late 1990s.  It was a watershed moment in addressing the AIDS epidemic in Africa and elsewhere, including an agreement to finance the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria created the previous year.  It is the kind of long term commitment to fight AIDS that dementia research needs now.

A chance not to be missed

Alzheimer’s Research UK is participating in the summit.  We will join various stakeholders – policy makers, innovators and investors – at the table to discuss the key challenges that need to be overcome to deliver world class research aimed at defeating dementia.  As one of the voices representing research charities at the summit, we have laid out what the international community must do to lead the fight:

  • There must be long term and collaborative global strategy to address dementia.
  • Dementia research must be funded in proportion to its impact as a world health crisis by doubling of funding every 5 years through 2025.
  • We support international support for initiatives for collaboration to turn promising basic research into potential treatments.
  • New treatments must be allowed to be brought to market through new avenues that encourage industry investment.
  • We must build capacity in the dementia research field, and we support a G8 target of doubling the number of researchers working in neurodegenerative research by 2025.
  • We must foster international collaboration by providing support for international collaboration initiatives, as well as providing a vehicle for strategic international partnerships.
  • Global information-sharing must be encouraged and facilitated through globally intraoperative data sharing.  

More detailed information on our G8 Dementia Summit policy calls can be found on our website.

The Prime Minister David Cameron has been visionary in championing dementia research funding in the UK through the Dementia Challenge, and placing it on the global agenda while the UK takes its turn at the G8 Presidency in 2013.  The UK is the home of world-renowned neurodegeneration researchers, and we are confident that together with the nation’s G8 partners we can make the most of the opportunity presented by this summit.  It will require willingness from the participants to bring prominence and focus to dementia as a global health crisis, as well as a commitment from them to use all the tools available to bring about a treatment.

Through research, we can make breakthroughs possible.


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Katy Riddick