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 & 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 funding.
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.
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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)
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