During the last year almost 22,000 people have taken part in research studies to tackle the condition – a 60% rise – according to figures published today by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
The increased participation in 100 ground breaking dementia research projects across the UK will give scientists a huge advantage in finding new treatments to prevent, treat and eventually cure the illness.
Research projects include testing whether antibiotics slow cognitive decline, investigating the role of the immune system in dementia, identifying genetic risk factors and improving end of life care for people with dementia.
Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman said:
“Dementia is a devastating condition that can have a significant impact on the lives of those affected and their families.
“Volunteers are essential to our battle against the disease and I’m delighted that so many people – with and without dementia – are coming forward to participate in ground-breaking new trials.
“There is still a long way to go, but with their help we hope to find a cure or disease modifying therapy by 2025. The race is on.”
Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“We are delighted that more people affected by dementia are being given the opportunity to take part in vital research.
“Not only is it essential for us to make progress towards new treatments and better care, but it could also empower people to learn more about their condition and benefit from additional support.”
Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK and this figure is expected to rise to more than 2 million by 2051.
More than 9,000 people have already signed up to Join Dementia Research and 51 research studies use the system to recruit participants.
Professor Martin Rossor, National Director for Dementia Research at the NIHR, said:
“With the continued focus on dementia research and increasing levels of funding, we expect to need even more people to participate in dementia research over the coming years. Traditionally it has been difficult to identify the right people for the right study at the right time, but Join Dementia Research is streamlining this process and we are already seeing the benefits of this boost in volunteers for research.”
Join Dementia Research makes it much easier for people, wherever they live, to get involved in research and the willingness of the public to help research is vital for us to make the progress that we all hope for.
The rise in participation was in part triggered by the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia and Dementia 2020 Challenge.
The fight against dementia has also been boosted by the $100m Dementia Discovery Fund, which brings together investment from the government and a number of charity and private sector partners as an innovative way of financing research into new dementia drugs and treatments.