The Alzheimer’s Society has called for a sevenfold increase in research funding into dementia.
Director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, Dr Doug Brown, has said that dementia should be on a similar footing to cancer when it comes to global investment. The combined UK spending on cancer research by charities and the government is at £590m however only £50m is spent on dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society hope to gain more funding from the G8 summit in London. The health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that: “Tony Blair had the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005 on HIV/Aids and actually that did turn in retrospect to be a turning point in the battle against Aids.
“I think if you bring the world’s leaders together, health ministers from across the world, and we are all resolved that we really are going to do something about this as we face up to an ageing society.
“Scientists now are actually quite hopeful that they might have some drugs that can really make a difference to dementia that are coming on.”
It is believed that one of the reasons it does not receive as many donations as other causes is due to its relative newness. “One of the key issues is that over the years, dementia was seen as a normal part of ageing,” said Brown. “Only over recent years have people identified it as something that has a pathology and can be treated.”
The lack of funds is believed to have led to few advances and no new treatment since 2003 and little is known about how to prevent the disease, reports the Guardian.
Dr Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, holds out hope of a significant breakthrough within five years. “If we can just get efficacy with one drug as a disease modifier, we will understand so much,” he said. “I am more encouraged for the future than I have ever been.”
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