Dementia Research - February 2022

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for contacting me about dementia research. I know what a devastating impact dementia has on patients and their families.

Last year, I was pleased to be able to support Alzheimer’s Research UK and their campaign to double dementia funding - Double dementia funding - Alzheimer's Research UK (alzheimersresearchuk.org) https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/mp-pledges/page/2/ and I have raised questions about this in the House - Written questions and answers - Written questions, answers and statements - UK Parliament https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/202…

It is critical that we increase dementia research funding. As I was taking part in a debate about dentistry at the time, unfortunately I was unable to attend the debate. You can read the debate held on 10th February about Dementia Research here: Dementia Research in the UK - Hansard - UK Parliament

The Government spent nearly £420 million on dementia research from 2015-16 to 2019-20, above the commitment to spend £300 million over the period. In 2019-20, the most recent year for which spending figures are available, the Government spent over £75 million on dementia and neurodegeneration research.

In November 2021, the Government announced a £375 million investment, over the next five years, to improve understanding and treatment for a range of neurodegenerative diseases. The investment will fund projects into a range of diseases such as Pick’s Disease, Fronto-temporal dementia, Wernicke-korsakoff, Parkinson’s disease dementia, Lewy Body dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment, improving understanding of the conditions while searching for new treatments.

At the 2021 Spending Review, the Government committed £5 billion to health-related research and development over the Spending Review period. Government Minister Lord Kamall said that this funding “reflects the Government’s commitment to supporting research into the most pressing health challenges of our time” and that dementia “is way up that list”. He went on to say that the Department for Health and Social Care is working across government to finalise the outcomes from the Spending Review and “identify ways to significantly boost research on dementia”.

Over the last decade, there has been a range of UK-led initiatives to increase the volume and quality of research into dementia and other neurodegeneration, including:

  • The UK Dementia Research Institute: supported by £190m of funding from the Medical Research Council, focuses on basic and translation science, early-stage development of diagnostics and treatments, experimental medicine, and the development of a new generation of technology to support those living with dementia.
  • The NIHR Dementia Translational Research Collaboration supports Biomedical Research Centres and NHS university partnerships to conduct dementia research.
  • The Dementia Discovery Fund a £250m international programme that invests in, and creates, new biotech companies to deliver high impact therapeutics for age-related dementias
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In addition, research through the National Institute for Health Research was commissioned on how to manage or mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on people living in the community with dementia and their carers. The research has considered the best ways to support people to stay well during the outbreak, including help to manage the psychological and social impacts of social distancing, self-isolation, and lockdown. You can find more information, including summary leaflets, here: http://www.idealproject.org.uk/covid/

The Government should do everything it can to offer support to people with long term health conditions, as well as those who support them, throughout this difficult time, and I will continue to monitor this issue closely.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Sincerely,

Richard Fuller