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By Women in Westminster

Conservatives pledge to double dementia research funding to £1.6bn over 10 years

Conservatives pledge to double dementia research funding to £1.6bn over 10 years
2 min read

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised an extra £83 million towards dementia research over the next decade in the "largest boost to dementia research ever" in the UK.

Speaking to the Daily Express, Mr Hancock said the extra funding – dubbed the “Dementia Moonshot” – will be used to find a cure for the disease.

He said: “This moonshot is going to galvanise the research community, many of whom are here in the UK.

“There are some hopeful signs of new drugs that can slow the onset of dementia and ultimately halt it.”

He also shared his own experience of the disease, claiming it was “heartbreaking” to watch his grandmother Pem Hills decline as she suffered from dementia in the final years of her life.

“I know from deep personal experience just how wonderful it would be if we could delay the onset of dementia because it would help so many families – and if we found a cure altogether it would be a huge stride forward for humanity.”

The money will be spent on increasing the number of academics and researchers in innovative areas such as advanced therapeutics and neurotechnologies.

It will be administered through the National Institute for Health Research and will mean a total of £166 million a year towards research funding.

Labour has also pledged to invest in dementia funding, promising that the NHS would be “at the forefront” of new dementia treatments.

The Alzheimer's Society said it welcomed any "serious plan" to invest in research.

Fiona Carragher, the society's chief policy and research officer, told the BBC: “This positive funding announcement would approximately double what is spent now and could make a huge difference."

But she added: "Every year dementia costs the economy £34bn. We have called for 1% of this to address the problem long term, so this announcement does fall short of that, but is still a big step in the right direction.

"Dementia research lags behind other disease areas and we urgently need research to fund new drugs but we also need to fund research into care - accompanying this with radical reform of the broken social care system."

The society estimates that the total cost of care for people with Alzheimer’s in the UK is currently £34.7 billion, but this will rise to £94.1 billion by 2040.

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