LONDON, June 19 Drugmakers are linking with
eight British universities in a 16 million-pound ($27 million)
public-private partnership to speed up research into dementia by
studying data from 2 million people in the world's largest such
The new UK Dementias Research Platform will investigate the
causes of dementia by tracking volunteers, aged 50 and over, who
are taking part in existing population studies such as UK
Biobank and the Million Women Study.
The aim is to give researchers a better understanding of who
is at risk of getting dementia, possible triggers that lead to
disease, and what might speed up or slow down its progression,
the state-run Medical Research Council said on Thursday.
Major pharmaceutical companies backing the initiative
include AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson
David Willetts, the government's minister for universities
and science, said the new platform was critical in helping
Britain achieve its target of doubling dementia research
The move coincides with a meeting of dementia experts in
London following a summit last December involving ministers from
the Group of Eight (G8) nations, which set a goal of finding a
cure or effective treatment for dementia by 2025.
The London meeting was the first G8 summit on a specific
illness since HIV/AIDS and its target is ambitious, considering
there is no obvious cure on the horizon.
Dementia - of which Alzheimer's disease is the most common
form - already affects 44 million people worldwide and this is
set to reach 135 million by 2050, according to Alzheimer's
Disease International, a non-profit campaign group.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Greg Mahlich)