Press release

World Dementia Council meets for the first time

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Council to champion dementia research and development and unlock investment around the world.

The first members of the World Dementia Council have met for the first time in London in a bid to stimulate the innovation and development of life-enhancing drugs, treatments and care for people with dementia within a generation.

The Council members have been appointed by the UK Government to support the World Dementia Envoy, Dr Dennis Gillings CBE, to champion dementia research and development and unlock investment in countries across the globe including throughout the G7 and OECD.

At the inaugural meeting, the Council considered how it could unlock the brainpower and financial muscle required to meet the objective from the 2013 G8 Dementia Summit to identify a cure or disease modifying therapy by 2025.

The World Health Organization estimates 36 million people worldwide are living with dementia, with the global cost of dementia estimated at US$604 billion.

The staggering economic impact that dementia is having globally highlights the urgent need for global experts to come together to encourage new research into dementia. To this end the Council will work over the next year to identify the barriers to innovation and improve the conditions around investment.

World Dementia Envoy, Dr Dennis Gillings CBE, said:

Dementia is a ticking bomb and with the global cost of dementia care expected to reach over $1 trillion by 2030 we can’t afford to do nothing.

Research is currently not delivering the results we need. We need accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and improved care and support to avoid serious economic and social impacts.

The new members of the World Dementia Council have given me great hope that together we will be able to meet the challenges that face us. We are determined to be radical but practical in the proposals that we bring forward. We will speak plainly to governments, regulators and industry about the changes we need to see happen quickly. I look forward to working with the Council to meet our aims of stimulating innovation in research and development and unlocking new investment.

Along with Dr Dennis Gillings, the members of the Council are:

  • Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust
  • Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, England
  • Dr Tim Evans, Director for Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank
  • Dr Franz Humer, Chairman of Roche
  • Dr Yves Joanette, Scientific Director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Aging
  • Professor Martin Knapp, Director of Health, the London School of Economics
  • Dr Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Professor of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies and Chair, Health and Global Policy Institute
  • Yves Leterme, Deputy Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Raj Long, Senior Regulatory Officer – Integrated Development, Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Professor Pierluigi Nicotera, Scientific Director and Chairman of the Executive Board, German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Professor Ronald Petersen, Director, Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
  • Dr Paul Stoffels, Global Chair of Johnson & Johnson
  • George Vradenburg, President and Chairman of the Vradenburg Foundation and USAgainst Alzheimer’s

The work of the World Dementia Council follows on from the 2013 G8 dementia summit hosted in London in December, in which the countries agreed to work together to build an international effort to double funding for dementia research, increase the number of people involved in clinical trials and to set an ambition to identify a cure or disease-modifying therapy for dementia by 2025.