Mark Menzies backs dementia research campaign

phppORm2nAMFYLDE MP Mark Menzies has pledged his support for a G8 global dementia research strategy to help defeat the debilitating illness.

Mr Menzies, was among fellow Members of Parliament and Peers who backed a call for global action to defeat the disease through research, as the UK recently hosted the first G8 Summit on dementia in London.

The plight of sufferers is a cause close to the MP’s heart as he is currently attempting to have Fylde recognised as a Dementia Friendly Community and is in the process of organising training for those who work with members of the public to recognise the signs of dementia and act accordingly.

Mr Menzies recently attended an Alzheimer’s Research UK reception in Westminster which recognised the importance of the G8 event and signed a pledge to support the fight to defeat dementia.

He said: “The fact that dementia is a key priority at such high levels shows how seriously this debilitating illness is being treated by governments the world over.

“I am currently doing what I can to make things better for those suffering from dementia on a local level, through the Dementia Friendly Communities programme.

“But research holds the key to truly improving life for the millions of people around the world living with dementia.

“I am determined that Fylde becomes a pioneer when it comes to dementia diagnosis and treatment and raised the issue during a private meeting with the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, just before Christmas.

“This is a battle which will only grow in significance in the future and we cannot afford to be complacent now.”

The recent G8 summit discussed an ambitious level of international coordination and action against dementia through research.

In response, a new £3m Dementia Consortium – bringing together research experts from the charitable, academic and private sectors – was launched to expedite the development of new drugs to combat dementia. The Dementia Consortium unites the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK with life science technology transfer experts MRC Technology and two pharmaceutical companies; Eisai and Lilly.

The consortium will seek to close the gap between fundamental academic research and the pharmaceutical industry’s drug discovery programmes. The Dementia Consortium will fund leading academic dementia research experts from Alzheimer’s Research UK and MRC Technology’s networks in the UK and overseas to develop early findings into validated drug targets.

The consortium has made £3m available – £2m from Alzheimer’s Research UK and £500,000 from both Eisai and Lilly – and is open to both UK and international academic teams to apply for funding.

Hilary Evans, director of external affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We are delighted to have political support from all sides for a new global commitment to defeat dementia.

“The G8 provides an unprecedented opportunity to bring together the world’s largest economies to tackle one of the greatest health challenges we face. More than 44 million people live with dementia worldwide, with as many as 820,000 of these in the UK, including some 15,000 people in Lancashire, and numbers are set to increase as populations live even longer.

“In launching the Dementia Consortium, we are pushing forward in the fight to defeat dementia through research with new partnerships to produce breakthrough treatments. Through research we can give hope to the millions living with dementia worldwide.”

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