Boris Johnson has recommitted to doubling dementia research funding to £160m a year by 2024, as set out in the Government’s 2019 election manifesto. The Prime Minister has also ringfenced £95m to boost clinical trials using a ‘Taskforce’ model, similar to the one that delivered COVID-19 vaccines.
The announcement comes after sustained campaigning from charities including Alzheimer’s Research UK. Since 2019, over 50,000 people across the UK have joined the charity in contacting their MPs, signing petitions, and even writing personal letters to the Prime Minster himself, urging the Government to deliver on its election promise and prioritise dementia research.
And in April, Alzheimer’s Research UK wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister urging the Government to convene a Dementia Medicines Taskforce, with a single focus on fast-tracking the development and delivery of new medicines for diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Warmly welcoming the announcement, the UK’s leading dementia research charity now calls on the new Prime Minister to ensure this funding is met with an ambitious 10-Year Plan for dementia.
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Today’s announcement marks an important step towards cementing the UK’s leadership in dementia research and ensuring the NHS can rapidly adopt and deliver new dementia treatments to the people who need them.
“The Vaccine Taskforce tore up the rule book for how drug discovery, drug trials and drug licensing are done. With promising Phase III clinical trial results expected for a number of potential new treatments over the coming months, now is the time for political will and clear leadership from the very top of Government to make sure any new and approved treatments reach people here in the UK as swiftly as possible.”
Reflecting on the news, Scott Mitchell, Ambassador at Alzheimer’s Research UK and husband of the late Dame Barbara Windsor, said:
“As a proud Ambassador of Alzheimer’s Research UK, today’s news has been an emotional one. Together, we have long campaigned for an increase in research funding and the fact today’s commitment has been made in Barbara’s name fills me with immense pride.
“I really do implore everyone to join this mission to end the heartbreak dementia causes. Research is vital if we’re to overcome the diseases that cause dementia, and by coming together, we will get there sooner; for people like Barbara and the many millions lost to or living with this devastating condition.”