Monday 17 December 2018
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WDC announce drive to speed up dementia research and increase investment

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 enormous 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.

“Having highlighted the problems, we’re now moving forward with real concrete solutions to speed up clinical development so that effective treatments get to market as soon as possible, while also incentivising investment both in care, via social impact bonds, and cure, both at early and late stages of the development process.

“We must also keep our minds firmly focused on people living with dementia, their families and carers. We are looking into how data can be shared so that best practice in care can be shown around the world, as well as making sure the whole dementia community can share their experiences and priorities for all to see.”