Boris Johnson calls for new dementia institute in London

Boris Johnson calls for new dementia institute in London

Mayor of London to reveal ambitions for London to house an international institute devoted to developing treatments for dementia

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The Mayor of London said the institute could bring together research efforts by Britain's universities and drug industry Photo: Telegraph

Boris Johnson will on Wednesday unveil his ambitions to establish an "international dementia research institute" in London as he throws his weight towards wider efforts to tackle the disease by 2025.
The Mayor of London will call on drug makers and charities to join forces with the Government to fund and participate in the new organisation at a City Hall meeting.

He hopes to win support to set up a physical institute where scientists can conduct experiments and trials, as well as a "virtual" research network that would enable dementia researchers to share ideas.
"An International Dementia Research Institute based here would boost our life sciences’ offer, with enormous potential to deliver benefits for patients, families and other carers, while delivering huge savings to the economy,” he said.
Kit Malthouse, deputy mayor, said part of the mission of the institute is to "co-ordinate everybody and iron out duplication".

“Our region already has an incredibly vibrant life sciences base and this Institute would build crucial partnerships between academia, industry, the NHS and social care, so that we can bring new treatments to market and drive a global reduction in dementia and tackle the enormous social and economic costs,” he said.

Research into dementia has been dogged by failure, with only three new drugs, of more than 100 candidates, coming to market in the last 15 years despite billions of pounds of investment.

Professor Sir John Tooke, academic director at UCL Partners said an international dementia research institute could "forge strong links with patient groups, other centres of excellence in the UK and abroad, and industrial partners in its search for novel solutions to this devastating condition".

Mr Malthouse told the Telegraph it would cost around £120m to set up the institute, with a further £300m to £400m over the next 30 years to maintain.

Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK and costs around £26bn to treat every year, according to the Alzheimer's Society.

Mr Malthouse added that University College London had already expressed interest in hosting the physical institute at its facility at Queen Square.

The Mayor of London's efforts echo the call made earlier this year by Prime Minister David Cameron, who urged a "big, bold global push" in the fight against dementia. The UK has also committed to a G8 target of identifying a cure or disease-modifying drug for dementia by 2025.


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