Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling for a recommitment from pharmaceutical companies to continue efforts to fund research into dementia, the leading cause of death in the UK.
Recent news that Pfizer will refocus efforts away from dementia research is a reminder of one of the barriers that stands in the way of bringing about the first life-changing treatment for dementia.
Investment in research comes with risks, and a number of initiatives are now in place to allow companies to spread this risk and continue investing in dementia. This includes collaborative efforts such as the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), which Alzheimer’s Research UK has invested in alongside Pfizer. The DDF works internationally with universities, pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology companies to identify and fund innovative early stage drug discovery research.
Dr Matthew Norton, Director of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:
We must continue to encourage companies to invest in research in dementia and neuroscience. We still lack life-changing treatments for dementia and the continued investment of pharmaceutical companies, which bring resources and expertise in drug discovery and clinical trials, is vital to improve the outlook for the 46 million people living with dementia worldwide.
Although neuroscience research is high risk in that failure for pharmaceutical companies comes at a high price, the potential benefits of success to the millions of people around the world living with dementia are too great to ignore.
Dementia is caused by diseases, which means it can be treated through advances in research. The UK is now a world leader in dementia research, and we hope that pharmaceutical companies will look at the long-term potential when deciding whether to participate in this effort. It is vital that all of us – charities, government and industry alike – make long-term commitments to dementia research if we are to bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.