A cure for dementia could be less than a decade away, according to experts in the brain-wasting disease. World-renowned neuroscientist, Professor Bart De Strooper, who works at University College London (UCL), has spoken out saying that an effective treatment could become available by 2028.
Despite there being no definitive route to finding a way to combat the disease at present, he said that researchers were heading in the right direction. Recent studies have made it clear that the key to overcoming dementia is to target it in the early stages, before irreparable damage has occurred.
Among the strategies that are currently being developed are looking at the genetic causes of the disease and preventing the build-up of plaques in the brain. Recently, scientists revealed that a blood test can now predict dementia ten years before symptoms develop.
Approximately 850,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with dementia, but the condition has been steadily rising in recent years. And it’s not just this country in which it is a problem, with America being home to 5.7 million dementia patients and cases prevalent across the world.
Professor De Strooper heads up a team of 270 scientists at the Dementia Research Centre at UCL. Expertise has been gathered from six universities in order to bring together those at the top of their field to try and find a cure.
They include specialists from UCL, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, King’s College London, the University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University. It is hoped that the number of researchers at the centre can be upped to 700 in the next two years in a bid to speed up the process of overcoming the disease.
Professor De Strooper told the Daily Express: “I think we will have a cure. In ten years, we will have a cure. I hope earlier. You start to see biochemical changes about 20 years before dementia manifests itself so if you could stabilise the disease in this insidious phase then that would be very good, that would also be a cure.
“It’s a bit like with cancer, you don’t hope to treat the patient when the cancer has taken over the body. You want to treat it in the beginning when you have limited trouble.”