Policy

ARUK – The Economic Value of Dementia Research

From Alzheimer's Research UK

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ARUK – The Economic Value of Dementia Research

Alzheimer’s Research UK believes we are at a tipping point for progress in ementia Research. With the first generation of treatments that slow cognitive decline becoming available. Increased investment over the last decade and the UK’s world-leading institutions mean that the UK is well placed to benefit from a wave of new investment that will accompany breakthroughs in treatments such as lecanemab and donanemab.

Sustained investment in dementia research is vital to build on and accelerate further progress in developing new life-changing treatments. This offers the potential to transform the lives of millions of people across the UK and to support economic growth. Against this backdrop, and an increased focus on the need to “future-proof research”, Alzheimer’s Research UK commissioned analysis from the Office of Health Economics (OHE) to quantify the current economic benefit from investment in dementia research and to outline the potential in the future with sustained growth. Figures and findings throughout this report relate to this analysis and further details about the methodology and sources used can be found in OHE’s accompanying report.

Download the report

Key Findings

  • Each pound invested in dementia research generated £2.59 within the UK economy during 2019/20.
  • This resulted in £529 million of economic impact including 7,353 full-time equivalent jobs.
  • If the government’s manifesto commitment to double dementia research funding to £160m by 2024 is realised, every £1 invested will generate almost four times that (£3.96) in economic impact.
  • Return on dementia investment will further increase with the availability of new disease-modifying treatments and advancements in prevention and diagnosis.
  • Six times as many people (12,213) could benefit from participating in clinical trials for dementia if UK participants were included at the average participation rate in all 224 global phase 3 interventional trials.

Recommendations

Develop a long-term strategic and sustainable plan for dementia research funding.

Government must set out a long-term strategic and sustainable plan for dementia research funding, spanning experimental discovery science, translational science and clinical research. This should include:

  • Proactive government investment in clinical trials and data infrastructure.
  • Large-scale strategic initiatives like the UK Dementia Research Institute, which encourage greater working across fields of expertise and expand the UK’s science base while making the UK more attractive for investment.

Deliver on a healthcare mission approach to dementia.

We believe an approach that brings stakeholders together to tackle dementia alongside other key healthcare “missions” benefits health and wealth, with a focus on improving outcomes while supporting economic growth. The Dame Barbara Windsor Dementia Mission and and proposals for a dementia clinical trials network5 offer a promising basis. This approach must:

  • Provide a framework for increasing the UK’s share of dementia trials and accelerating the development and delivery of new treatments.
  • Focus on joining up key research initiatives to improve how we detect and diagnose the diseases that cause dementia, use healthcare data to speed up trials, and build innovation into trial delivery and regulation.

Embed and promote research across the UK

Research must be representative of the population if we are to fully understand the diseases that cause dementia and bring about a treatment that works for everyone. To achieve this requires sustained government leadership and investment to:

  • Embed and promote research across all UK regions to create equitable opportunities for participation, supporting areas which have less research activity and infrastructure.
  • Pilot new ways of structuring NHS services which better integrate clinical research with routine healthcare, such as brain health clinics.

Get more insights in this blog from Alzheimer’s Research UK

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