A unique collaboration between researchers, technology companies and drug manufacturers is providing a new approach in dementia research that will help find new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease.

The Dementia Consortium is an innovative partnership between Alzheimer’s Research UK, MRC Technology, and the pharmaceutical companies Eisai and Lilly.

This is the first time partners from the charity, academic and private sectors in the UK have come together to provide research funding into dementia drugs.

 

New source of research funding

 

The companies in the Consortium will work together and provide £3million of research funding. Dr Justin Bryans, director of drug discovery at MRC Technology, describes the consortium as “an exciting way to do science”.

“We are hoping for staged success. The first stage will involve seeking out innovative academic science, then, at the next stage collaborating on the delivery of high-quality compounds, and ultimately using our joint capabilities to probe that science in a human setting.

This will drive confidence that the basic science has the potential to impact on human disease before seeking novel drugs for evaluation in human clinical trials. The marriage of academic science and industry opinion leaders alongside MRC Technology’s early drug discovery experience and pharmaceutical insight, all underpinned by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s clinical expertise and patient experience, offer a new and exciting paradigm to tackle this devastating disease.”

 

Searching for new treatments

 

Dr. Eric Karran from Alzheimer’s Research UK, says the members hope the joint venture could ultimately lead to much-needed new drugs to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

“Dementia can sometimes seem like an almost intractable health condition. The care challenge and costs are already considerable, yet the number of people living with dementia is set to increase as the population ages. This could wreak havoc both socially and economically unless we can develop solutions.

“We believe research is the only way we can alter this trajectory. We have to bring innovation to the problem. We have to look at different ways of supporting and facilitating the kind of research that will bring patients benefits as quickly as possible.”

Pooling expertise from around the world and partnering with other organisations and charities with complementary strengths and resources could bring real progress for people with dementia.

The aim is that this kind of collaborative model can streamline the research into dementia treatments by enabling early findings from academics and researchers to be fast-tracked into drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry. The hope is that this will mean people with dementia won’t have to wait as long in future for newer, better treatments.

 

For more information on the Dementia Consortium go to www.dementiaconsortium.org