World Dementia Council announces next steps

2 September 2014 - The World Dementia Council has announced the next steps in its drive to speed up dementia research and increase investment. The plans were agreed at its second meeting at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris in July.

Four main areas are being pursued in order to tackle the lack of effective treatment and sufficient funding to find a cure:

  • Integrated development – Optimising the path of medicines from research through to market by reducing barriers & encouraging regulatory flexibility. This work is being led by WDC member Raj Long, Senior Regulatory Officer, Integrated Development, Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Finance and incentives – Looking at ways to increase the relatively low investment in funding dementia innovation by exploring new types of funding product. The first stages of this work will be focused on different stages of the drug development process with the development of two models that could support early stage and late stage drug development respectively. Later work is likely to focus on care innovation and basic science. The UK Government has engaged JP Morgan to help the WDC develop its proposals.
  • Open science – Unleashing the potential of open science for sharing information and knowledge to accelerate progress in developing new treatments and care approaches, and avoiding wasteful duplication of effort. Both the World Health Organisation and OECD will be supporting the Council in developing their work on this.
  • Public health/prevention – The Council is also beginning an evidence review into existing research on how risk factors such as diabetes and heart disease relate to dementia, as well as looking into public health messaging on lifestyle and prevention. WDC member Harry Johns, President and CEO of Alzheimer’s Association, Harry Johns is leading this review.

Speaking after the meeting, World Dementia Envoy, Dr Dennis Gillings, said:

“This marks a big step for the World Dementia Council in identifying how to break down the barriers which mean that we don’t yet have a cure for dementia, or anywhere near the investment in the science, research and care that we need. We must also keep our minds firmly focused on people living with dementia, their families and carers.”

Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) said:

"We welcome the addition of public health and prevention as one of the World Dementia Council's main areas of focus. Every year we hear more and more about the ways we may be able to help reduce our risk of dementia, and how effective public health programmes can help populations to maintain brain healthy lifestyles. The theme for this year's World Alzheimer's Month is Dementia: Can we reduce the risk? As part of the campaign we will launch this year's World Alzheimer Report on 17 September, which will provide a comprehensive review of the science behind this topic."

Where next?