Your Questions Answered

Here you will find frequently asked questions relating to Dementias Platform UK (DPUK), if you have any further queries then please contact us.

What is Dementias Platform UK?

DPUK is an enabling platform designed to accelerate the development of new treatments by facilitating the conduct of highly informative and highly targeted clinical studies, including trials.  To achieve this DPUK has three core utilities:

  1. Rapid data access enabling triangulation between multiple independent datasets.  This is achieved through a collaboration between over 30 UK cohorts (n>2M) that are willing to share data using a secure data analysis portal.
  2. Identification of highly characterised participants for clinical and in silico studies.  This is achieved through analysis of cohort and individual level meta-data accessed through the DPUK secure analysis portal.
  3. Technology development networks for imaging, stem cells, and bio-informatics. These networks are to improve the availability of high-level technologies, and are distributed throughout the UK to facilitate multi-centre studies.

DPUK is made up of a collection of university and industry partners brought together through a consortium agreement to fast-track scientific understanding, treatments and the prevention of the dementias.

To find out more please view our introduction video, further video’s can also be found on Vimeo.

Why has DPUK been created?

Dementia is one of the UK’s most challenging health problems and is a huge burden on our health and care services. The numbers of people with dementia are expected to double in the next 30 years and predicted costs likely to treble to over £50 billion. The country is facing one of the biggest global health and social care challenges and more research needs to be done to help fight this growing problem. The Medical Research Council created Dementias Platform UK as a new way of researching the disease. They felt a collaborative approach was needed and wanted to utilise the wealth of population studies in the UK to help accelerate progress in beating this disease. DPUK also helps to meet the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020.

When was DPUK created and how long will it exist?

DPUK began in June 2014, with official launch events taking place in October 2014. The project will run for five years initially, concluding June 2019.  The infrastructure, resources and technologies will continue to be used for Dementia research for many years after the end of DPUK.

What will be the benefit?

We will look for ways to delay the onset of dementia by changes in lifestyle and treating conditions that increase dementia risk. We will look for ways to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. In the longer term, we will look for treatments that can be used as soon as problems are detected to delay or prevent the disease progressing.  To see how we are progressing, see our publications, newsletters and reports.

Who funds DPUK?

The majority of our funding comes from the Medical Research Council, with additional funds from our Industry Partners.

How much has been directly invested in DPUK?

The Platform represents an initial investment of £53 million from the MRC.

How much additional funding has been accessed?

With the support of DPUK, through our networks and utilising our infrastructure,  researchers have been successful with competitive grants from a range of funders, for example:

  • Deep and Frequent Phenotyping Study
  • Stem Cells Partnership
  • Imaging Partnership
  • IMI Roads

How will you spend the money?

DPUK will spend the majority of their funds building a dementia research infrastructure for the UK. We are establishing state-of-the-art research networks in brain imaging, stem cells, and informatics to create and coordinate the best science. We are also building a programme of experimental medicine studies to find out what works in treating dementia and why.

Who governs DPUK?

DPUK is governed by an Oversight Board, independently appointed by the MRC and decisions are made by the Executive Team. We are also guided by a Scientific Steering Group and advised by International Experts.

Which universities are involved with the project?

Our official university partners are currently: Cambridge, Oxford, University College London (UCL), Imperial College, Kings College London, Manchester, MRC-BSU, Newcastle, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Swansea. The University of Oxford is the lead institution for the project.

We are also working with the University of Bristol through our Research Networks.

Who are your Industry partners?

Our current industry partners are: GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Research & Development, AstraZeneca-MedImmune, Ixico, SomaLogic and Araclon.

Will you be taking on new partners?

We welcome new industry partners and academic collaborators. Please visit our Get Involved page for more details.

Do you work with other dementia network and organisations?

DPUK has a strong global voice, connected and integrated within the dementia research ecosystem in Europe and beyond. To find out more please visit our Global Connections page.

What is a cohort study? (Also known as a population study)

A cohort study is a study which works with a specific group of people to understand how health and wellbeing change over time.

Why are cohort studies valuable?

Cohort Studies help researchers gather in-depth information about the factors which affect our health, and how these can change and interact over time. Cohort studies are particularly important to understand the impact of lifestyle, behaviour and environmental factors which cannot easily be studied using other methods. Because cohort studies involve a broad range of people, they are useful in the development of national health strategies across the population. To find out more, please visit our Cohorts Overview page.

What kind of Cohorts are involved in DPUK?

DPUK comprises a diverse range of clinical and population cohorts including deeply phenotyped familial disease cohorts, birth cohorts, mature population cohorts and large scale population cohorts. These cohorts provide a breadth and depth of data that is not available elsewhere.  The utility of DPUK for data sharing is not limited to dementia and there is growing interest in using the platform for other outcomes.  The ability of the DPUK analysis environment to conduct centralised pooled data analyses (in contrast to distributed analyses) is attracting interest from cohorts beyond the UK. 

Which cohort studies are involved with the project?

We have over 30 UK cohort studies involved in DPUK. To see the full list, please visit our Cohort Directory.

How do you keep data safe?

DPUK takes the issue of data protection very seriously. The health information held about study volunteers from the population studies participating in DPUK is protected and subject to the highest levels of ethics and data security. To find out more please visit our Data Security page.

How can I participate in research studies?

We are not recruiting people directly for studies but will be making use of over 30 existing cohort studies. If you are interested in participating in dementias research you can sign up to receive details of relevant studies.  Visit our Get Involved page for more information.

I am already registered with one of the cohort studies working with DPUK. How can I help?

If you are already registered with a cohort, then please look out for calls for further studies and research, as this data will form a valuable part of DPUK.

I am a researcher, do you have any funding available?

At DPUK we offer “seed corn” funding for an Experimental Medicine programme, aiming to open the door to early phase trials that are highly informative and cost-effective. If you wish to know more about how to apply please visit our Experimental Medicine pages. You can also find out about other available funding on our Research Grants page.

How do I register for the Data Portal?

If you are a researcher who wishes to access the Data Portal, please register using the Data Portal user guide to assist you.

What will be available in the Data Portal?

In the Data Portal you will find a comparison tool to assist you to identify cohorts that may be relevant to your study. You will be able to see what data has been collected by the cohorts, for example, socio-economic data, biological data and so on. There is also a cohort profile page for each cohort giving more detail about each variable that they collect, together with copies of our related procedures and study application forms. You will need to complete the study application process to access cohort data.

How can I keep up to date with your news?

You can regularly check this website for all our latest news. If you would like to receive our regular newsletter you can send us your details via our Contact form, and we will add your details to our mailing list. You can also follow us on Twitter @DementiasUK.

I would like to learn about events that you have up and coming, how do I do this?

You can keep up to date with all of our events and other events relating to dementia through our interactive events calendar that we have on the website. You can also follow us on Twitter @DementiasUK.

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