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Thirty-five partners from industry and academia join European research initiative for the prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia

European research initiative for the prevention of alzheimer2019s dementia update

Today, members of the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia (EPAD) initiative announced the start of a novel pan-European collaboration between academic and private sectors to test innovative treatments for the prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia. The consortium’s work will improve the chances of successfully preventing Alzheimer’s dementia and increase understanding of the early aspects of Alzheimer’s disease before dementia develops.

Professor Simon Lovestone, lead of the NIHR Translational Research Collaboration in Dementia and co-lead of the EPAD consortium, said “The scale of the problem with dementia is so great we cannot carry on doing things the same way as we are now. The exciting thing about EPAD is that it brings a novel approach to clinical trials that has a real chance of making serious progress towards prevention. Because of the research networks that have been established in the UK, based in the NHS, I think we will be able to make a substantial contribution to this important public-private consortium”.

The 5 year EPAD programme is part of the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a joint undertaking between the European Union and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, EFPIA. EPAD will establish a European-wide register of 24,000 participants, of which 1,500 will be invited to participate in a trial to test new treatments for prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia.

Previous attempts to bring new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease to the market have been disappointing despite a high level of investment. However, the realisation that Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder and that early intervention may be more effective has led to research efforts being focused on prevention. The goal of the initiative is the prevention of dementia in people with evidence of the disease (such as biomarker abnormalities as identified by specific tests), who have few or no clinical symptoms.

Alzheimer’s trial ‘could be a game changer’ say experts
Oxford Mail, p.8, 26/01/2015, Oliver Evans
A £49m project between Oxford University and drug firms will work with 24,000 volunteers at risk of Alzheimer’s, including more than 1,000 from the county. Clinical trials commonly test a drug against a placebo but the study will compare drugs against each other and change medication that is not working for people. It is hoped the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia (EPAD) initiative will prevent memory loss in those who have few or no symptoms. University professor of translational medicine Simon Lovestone said: ‘There have been studies that have been as big as this. But the fact that people will just continue until they find a treatment means this is the most advanced trial there has ever been.’ The trial will include people already known through university trials to have “biomarkers” that show them to be at risk. More than 1,500 will be selected to take the drugs and residents are being urged to put themselves forward for consideration.

Further information on dementia research in the Department

Information on the work of Professor Lovestone’s group