Dementia researchers should receive same funding as those investigating cancer, claims charity

Dementia researchers should receive same funding as those investigating cancer, claims charity

The Alzheimer's Society believes dementia research should receive the same level of funding currently allocated to cancer projects.

Ahead of today's (December 11th) G8 summit on the condition in London, the charity stated the opportunity to "turn the tide" should not be passed up.

Figures published by Alzheimer's Research UK during 2010 showed that £50 million was spent on dementia each year compared to £590 million for cancer.

Prime minister David Cameron has pledged to double dementia funding between 2015 and 2025, but Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer's Society, says much more is needed to tackle the growing issue.

Currently, around 820,000 people are living with some form of dementia in the UK and that number is expected to grow above the one million mark by 2021 unless a significant breakthrough in research is made.

"One of the key issues is that over the years, dementia was seen as a normal part of ageing," Dr Brown told the Guardian.

"Only over recent years have people identified it as something that has a pathology and can be treated."

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said bringing the world's leaders together at the summit should go a long way to helping the fight against the cognitive condition.

He pointed out that Tony Blair held a similar G8 summit on HIV/Aids at Gleneagles in 2005 and the battle against the illness has come on leaps and bounds since.

"Scientists now are actually quite hopeful that they might have some drugs that can really make a difference to dementia that are coming on," he added.

Dementia currently costs the UK economy £23 billion a year. That's more than cancer, stroke and heart disease combined.

Last week, Dr Eric Karran from Alzheimer's Research UK told delegates at a conference in London that a drug known as solanezumab could be capable of slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's.

Tests on the medication have proven positive and Dr Karran hopes that one day it will be available to patients in the form of a jab.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.