Dementia is 'one of greatest enemies of humanity' - PM

Care for dementia patients More funding for dementia research has been announced by the prime minister

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A "big, bold global push" is needed to beat dementia, David Cameron has told a summit in London.

He pledged to accelerate progress on dementia drugs, by increasing funding and making new drugs more accessible.

The prime minister was speaking to an audience of 300 experts who have pledged to find a cure by 2025.

He wants a team of experts to report back to him by October on how drugs companies can be encouraged to develop new dementia medicines.

In his speech, the prime minister told experts that dementia is one of the "greatest enemies of humanity".

Start Quote

It is important to see dementia as a disease and one that we need to better understand so that we can tackle it”

End Quote David Cameron

"We are renewing our commitment to say by 2025 we want to find a cure to dementia. We should treat this as a disease rather than as some natural part of ageing," he said.

He said there was a need to develop more drugs and get them to patients more quickly. For that to happen, international collaboration and more money for dementia research was needed, he said.

Speaking to an audience of global dementia and finance specialists, David Cameron said he would speed up progress on dementia drugs by getting experts to come up with new proposals on areas such as drug patent extensions, by October.

He added: "Something like £50m a year is being spent on dementia research, rather than the £590m spent on cancer. It is important to see dementia as a disease and one that we need to better understand so that we can tackle it."

Mr Cameron told BBC Radio 4's You And Yours that more needs to be done to improve the lives of those with dementia.

"So much of this is about making sure hospitals and care homes treat people with dementia better and, absolutely crucially, that we build dementia-friendly communities where all of us try and understand better what it's like to live with dementia," he said.


Cancer v dementia research

UK government funded £52m of research into dementia in 2012/13

It has pledged to increase this to £66m by 2015

Around £600m is spent on cancer research each year

For every one dementia scientist in the UK, at least six work in cancer

Source: Alzheimer's Research UK


Earlier, Alzheimer's Research UK announced a £100m research campaign and the Medical Research Council (MRC) said it was undertaking the world's biggest study into dementia, involving two million people.

The new world dementia envoy, Dennis Gillings, who was appointed by David Cameron in February, warned that if global leaders do not incentivise businesses to invest in research, the ambition to find a cure by 2025 will not be met.

Start Quote

Hundreds of thousands of people with dementia and their families are struggling without the vital local care services they desperately need.”

End Quote Liz Kendall Labour spokeswoman

Dr Gillings said: "Dementia is a ticking bomb costing the global economy £350bn and yet progress with research is achingly slow. Research must become more attractive to pharmaceuticals so they will invest and innovate.

"Just as the world came together in the fight against HIV/Aids, we need to free up regulation so that we can test groundbreaking new drugs, and examine whether the period for market exclusivity could be extended.

"Without this radical change, we won't make progress in the fight against dementia."

Labour care spokeswoman Liz Kendall said her party supported the government's commitments to research funding, but wanted Mr Cameron to do more to help people currently struggling with dementia.

"Hundreds of thousands of people with dementia and their families are struggling without the vital local care services they desperately need. This isn't good for them, and is a false economy as an increasing number of elderly people with dementia are ending up in hospitals or care homes when they don't need to."

Dr Alison Cook, from the Alzheimer's Society, said the UK's best scientists should be given "the right environment to develop better treatments and ultimately a cure".

She called for the industry to "step up" in order to deliver the G8 summit's pledge of a cure for dementia by 2025.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Stop paying politicians and funnel that money into research for dementia and cancer. mps are rich enough to not need the money

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    The responsibility for looking after the old, is the individual them self, and the family, NOT the state.
    I am 60 years old. It is my responsibility to look after myself and my wife. I do not want any help from the nanny state.
    When I am unable to look after myself, the responsibility falls to my son and daughter. Simple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    'We won't be able to 'cure' dementia until we understand how the brain actually works and we are a long way from that'

    Maybe so but increased research could lead to improved treatment & ways of managing the condition.

    After all we haven't found a cure for cancer yet but survival rates and quality of life for sufferers is improving bit by bit because of the research and new treatments

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    16.Border Terrier
    "The way we care for the elderly in this country especially those with Alzheimer's disease who are poorly equipped to care for themselves is a very poor reflection of the moral state of this country in general. Shameful in fact"

    BT - what makes you, in particular, so uncaring and shameful? have you no heart to look after the ppl that brought you into this world?

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    We are paying researchers £600m a year, to: NOT FIND A CURE! If they found it - we would not pay them anymore! As long as they do NOT FIND a cure - they will continue to get paid. WHY SHOULD THEY PUBLISH A FIND?

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Its a matter of priorities. Unfortuntley the people we have in power have decided loking after our own comes second to strutting the world stage

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    The only thing that is for sure is death & taxes - we all know that

    So why not let older people - we will never be younger than we are right now - pass with dignity - I would rather jump/hit the reset button than be
    in some silly home cutting paper dolls - One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
    using blunt plastic scissors or letting silly quacks pump dope into me to watch me hop around like a bunny

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    We won't be able to 'cure' dementia until we understand how the brain actually works and we are a long way from that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Dementia is not one disease with a single cause - its more an umbrella term for a number of different diseases with similar effects.

    This complicates the finding of a cure since each will need a separate drug tailored to the specific mechanism of that particular type - there will not be a panacea as I understand it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    My uncle was 96 when he died there was nothing wrong with his brain. He was all there. He could still name all of the cricket teams from the 1930s . My Mother in-Law has Alziemers she drives us mad with it. The pills for it don't work for her. Thay made her worse. She is so depressed so her Doctor has given her some Happy Pills. We will see if they Help cheer her up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Bus drivers do a great deal to help, making sure the regulars don't drop off to sleep missing their stop. However, my Great Aunt decided to go off shopping at 10 in the evening, ending up at end of the bus route? The driver, seeing her setting off into the dark, drove the bus up along side calling her to get on. After a phone call he then drove the bus all of the way back to Aunt's front door.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Look at societies with longevity combined with physical and mental health and you will see that they don't live the way we do. I expect the governments and medical profession will talk and lots of money will be spent looking aimlessly for a cure. The answer lies in our lifestyle but that means ripping down the money making institutions and reverting to a simpler less profitable existence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.


    In fairness football is entertainment,it is paid for by those who subsribe to watch it whether that be sky or tickets etc

    No different to a singer for example earning millions or a film star,they are paid via the money brought in from album sales,theatres etc so your point isn't really relevant

    HS2 on the other hand that IS the kind of thing that should be 2nd fiddle to research

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    What gets me is that all governments since 1945 have known there was a post war baby boom in the UK and it goes without saying that the baby boomers would possible live to a good age particularly with the introduction of the NHS.
    All the so called problems facing the now elderly baby boomers could have been predicted and planned for but for 68 years governments have ignored the blatantly obvious.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    thank goodness we give so much aid to other country's pft. ISNT it about time our tax's started to work for the people who created all this wealth.Why is it that our alleged betters seem to think they are the only ones that know how to use our money.Come on get busy cure this, cure cancer.Its our cake we want to see our slice working in the UK

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.


    Get your wallet out if you're that bothered.
    What about the £billions that millions of people just give away via gambling, or the waste at xmas & easter or pretentious valentines day.

    All these things, including footy & wasteful consumer trash, create the wealth to enable funding in all & sundry.
    When a footy player gets £5 million a year they pay a LOT of tax

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Border Terrier
    "The way we care for the elderly"

    Well, you shud look after your parents properly yourself - I look after my parents because they are my parents and I love them.

    I do, when I get dementia (or similar) and it is costing my children their inheritance. I hope the law has changed so I can depart in a sensible manner - life is fun but it's not serious.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Having worked for dementia sufferers and their families when I was young, I came to the conclusion that the disease was not always a terrible burden on the old, often it acted as a blessed release from the horrible reality of their doom. (OK I was young).
    In fact I made a point of making the unscheduled wanderings fun.
    It was the loved ones who couldn't bear it, they were the real sufferers.


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