An Alzheimer's Society research programme could lead to new dementia treatments within ten years, leading scientists said.
The Drug Discovery programme could lead to treatments that give benefits five times longer than current dementia drugs and delay the onset of the condition.
Alzheimer's Society Ambassador and Oscar winning writer Julian Fellowes, Lord Fellowes of West Stafford, will today host a launch reception at the House of Lords. He will be joined by fellow ambassador and long-term supporter Fiona Phillips. The stars are stepping out to support the novel and exciting dementia research programme which offers hope to millions of people.
Lord Fellowes says:
'This programme is more than a ray of hope for 750, 000 people with dementia, their carers and families. At a time when the number of people with this condition is rising it is wonderful to see the Alzheimer's Society striding ahead in the race to find a cure and new treatments. In short, it is a tremendous opportunity, and something really to celebrate.'
Fiona Phillips says:
'I know from caring for both my mum and my dad the devastating impact that dementia can have on the person living with the condition and their families. Investing in treatment development today has to be a priority if we are to change this picture. That is why I am so happy to offer my support to this major project which has the potential to transform the lives of so many.'
Drug Discovery will test treatments that are already licensed for other conditions. The drugs have additional actions that may be effective in treating the changes that occur in the brain in Alzheimer's disease. Six drugs, identified using a novel systematic approach, are being fast-tracked for exploration in scientific studies. Clinical trials will then be held across the UK to see if they have benefits for people with dementia.
As the drugs are already available they will be cheaper and quicker to translate into dementia treatments if successful. Alzheimer's Society will test three drugs over a 5 - 10 year period at a cost of £15 million. By comparison, it costs one billion US dollars (approx £612.7million GBP) and 20 years to deliver an effective treatment from scratch.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer's Society says,
'This is an exciting day in the race to find new treatments and eventually a cure for people with dementia. There are not enough clinical trials for dementia happening in the UK which is why Alzheimer's Society is responding by launching Drug Discovery. We need £4,000 every day for the next 10 years for the first phase of this groundbreaking initiative and we are asking all those concerned with dementia to help us raise this. Together we can transform hundreds of thousands of lives.'