One in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime: its the biggest health challenge of our generation. With 1 million people predicted to have dementia by 2025 in the UK, and a current cost of £26bn a year to the UK economy, there is huge financial and societal impact, yet we’re still without treatment.
Transforming our diverse landscape into an integrated ecosystem
Following the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020, the last few years have seen the launch of major UK initiatives spanning basic and clinical research. It is now critical to coordinate efforts and make the most of such a rich dementia research landscape, clinical infrastructure and networks.
To tackle the challenge of dementias we must capitalise on the breadth of available resources and expertise, and build an integrated ecosystem. In this spirit, on 2 April 2019 the UK Dementia Research Institute hosted the first meeting with Directors of the UK major programmes (Dementias Platform UK, ARUK Drug Discovery Alliance, European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia, NIHR National Director for Dementia Research Office). Representatives from major UK dementia funders (Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society, MRC, Wellcome), industry and the Dementia Discovery Fund also joined the discussion. Together these thought leaders form “Dementia Ecosystem UK.”
Our approach: Culture, Coordination, Communication
The mission of Dementia Ecosystem UK is to work together to transform our understanding of the complex trajectory of dementia and ultimately how to tackle it.
Dementia Ecosystem UK will bring together the major UK dementia research initiatives and create a joined-up community from fundamental science to the clinic by:
- Setting standards and incentives for sharing resources, reagents, data, approaches, expertise, biosamples and ideas (Culture)
- Developing initiatives at the basic-clinical interface with appropriate patient involvement to better understand the evolving changes affecting the brain throughout the progression of dementia (Coordination)
- Develop a joint communication strategy to de-stigmatise dementia and emphasise the importance of prevention in brain health (Communication)