A “bold, global push” is urgently needed to find effective treatments against dementia, David Cameron is due to warn.
The Prime Minister will tell an international conference that 40 million people worldwide now have the disease.
And the number is set to double every 20 years, unless scientists find some way of slowing or preventing the slow decline in brain function.
The meeting is a follow-up to the first Dementia Summit of G8 industrialised nations held in December, at which politicians committed to finding new treatments by 2025.
“The truth is that dementia now stands alongside cancer as one of the greatest enemies of humanity,” the Prime Minister will say.
“We have to fight to cure it. I know some people will say that it’s not possible, but we have seen with cancer what medicine can achieve.
“We need to join up the dots and create a big, bold global push to beat this.”
Global funding for dementia research is just one fifth of that spent on cancer. In the last 15 years only three drugs have been developed.
The World Dementia Envoy Dr Dennis Gillings, who was appointed following the G8 Summit, will tell the meeting that pharmaceutical companies need to be given incentives to invest in research, and encouraged to speed up clinical trials so patients benefit sooner.
“Just as the world came together in the fight against HIV/Aids, we need to free up regulation so that we can test ground-breaking new drugs,” he will say.
The Medical Research Council will announce the world’s largest ever study into dementia, with two million people in Britain invited to take part.
And Alzheimer’s Research UK hopes to raise 100m to fund more drug research.
The fresh focus being given to dementia was welcomed by Alison Carter, who helps to care for her father John Fenn.
He was diagnosed with vascular dementia seven years ago. Existing treatments have done little to slow the disease.
She told Sky News: “The idea that there are drugs out there which are now being looked at that could delay it for five years. If my dad could have five years back, that would be fantastic.”
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19 June 2014 | 4:49 am – Source: orange.co.uk