Oldham MP questions PM on election promise to fund dementia research

Date published: 24 January 2019

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, is keeping the pressure up on the Government to hold to its election promise to fund research into dementia by directly questioning the Prime Minister about the issue in Parliament.

Debbie is backing a new report from Alzheimer’s Research UK - called Dementia Moonshot (read the full report here.) - which outlines the critical areas government investment is needed in to rapidly accelerate research into urgently needed life-changing treatments for dementia.

Debbie said: “There are around 1,200 people living with dementia in Oldham East and Saddleworth and 850,000 across the UK making dementia the leading cause of death in the UK. So in my question to the Prime Minister I asked him to commit to funding the research Alzheimer’s Reseach UK have told us is required if they are to find a cure.

“Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched an ambitious spending plan in response to the Government’s election ‘Dementia Moonshot’ funding pledge to find a cure for dementia.

“Finding new treatments means investing in key areas which have historically received little or no government funding. Government must take note of this report and ensure that funding is channelled into these areas of unmet need.  

“I will continue to hold the Government to account to ensure they deliver on their manifesto promise.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK say that by 2021, over one million people in the UK will be living with dementia, and the condition will cost the UK economy a staggering £30bn each year.

Despite this, dementia treatment and research lags far behind other serious diseases, such as cancer and HIV/AIDs.

Samantha Benham-Hermetz, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: “The Prime Minister has rightly described dementia as the “next great frontier”, and recognised that the UK should be a global leader in the search for a life-changing treatment.

We are encouraged by the government’s commitment to increase funding for dementia research, and it’s now time to put that commitment into action.

“There are no shortcuts to life-changing treatments. An increased and sustained research investment is the only way to bring about new treatments sooner and give hope to the millions of people affected by dementia up and down the country.

"This report should be a clear blueprint for investment that will deliver the breakthroughs we so urgently need.”

Priority areas outlined in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s report are:

Invest £20 million over five years into a global early detection initiative, which will help to detect the diseases that cause dementia 10-15 years earlier. This could help people understand and reduce their risk of developing the condition, most commonly caused by Alzheimer’s, and would mean potential treatments could be tested at an earlier stage when they may have more chance of success.

Establish a ‘Dementia Translational Medicines Accelerator’, a fund dedicated to testing the promise of drugs in very early clinical trials for dementia, which will help us to better predict whether emerging medicines will be successful at later stages of clinical trials.

This would need £50 million over five years from government, with additional funding leveraged from industry.

Make the UK the best place to carry out clinical dementia research, with an investment of £260 million over five years.

This would include recruiting a group of ‘trial ready’ volunteers ready to take part in research; boosting the research capacity of memory clinics; and expanding a network of ‘Brain Health’ clinics across the country to offer improved opportunities to take part in research and trials.

Do you have a story for us? Want to tell us about something going on in and around Oldham? Let us know by emailing news@oldham-chronicle.co.uk , calling our Oldham-based newsroom on 0161 633 2121 , tweeting us @oldhamchronicle or messaging us through our Facebook page. All contact will be treated in confidence.