Dementias Platform UK enhances the global dementia research and development landscape. Multidimensional information accessed through a single secure location can be brought together with unprecedented scope, scale, and speed. This will lead to new and significant insights into the causes of dementia to accelerate the development of new treatments.
What is Dementias Platform UK?
DPUK is a public-private partnership that gives unprecedented access to the detailed information concerning health, family history, and lifestyle for over 2 million individuals from over 40 cohort studies, including large, longitudinal population-based studies. It has been created by MRC to facilitate and accelerate the discovery of new ways to understand, diagnose, and treat dementia. Through joining data from multiple studies, it provides an integrated and collaborative environment bringing together scientists from academia and industry to share knowledge and conduct joint research programmes. This provides a foundation for new ways of working with academia, industry, regulators, health care providers, patients and the public, to develop new treatments for dementia.
Bringing data from many cohorts together enables new questions to be asked about the causes of dementia.
Cohorts, where volunteers have their health and lifestyle monitored over time, provide the best evidence of disease risk. Bringing data from many cohorts together enables new questions to be asked about the causes of dementia. The large number of individuals in our cohorts (over 2 million) allows these research questions to be answered more rigorously and more rapidly than would otherwise be possible.
By bringing data from multiple cohorts into a single, secure, environment – the DPUK data portal – the need to transfer increasingly large and complex data files between research groups is greatly reduced. The DPUK data portal enables bona-fide research scientists from around the world to access data from their desktop. By maintaining these data in an environment operating to the highest data protection standards, cohort participants and researchers can be reassured that the data are managed securely and responsibly; maintaining privacy whilst maximising scientific value.
Accelerating the discovery of new treatments
To exploit these data resources, DPUK has established collaborations with universities across the UK to enable discovery and testing of new disease concepts, diagnostics or potential treatments.
DPUK technology networks promote a new generation of medical experiments targeting specific mechanisms through shared state-of-the art technologies and streamlined procedures.
- Our 5-centre informatics network provides coordinated digital data collection, curation, storage, and access management for all major data modalities and for all study designs.
- Our 7-centre neuroimaging (PET-MRI) network enables high quality molecular and structural brain imaging studies to be conducted throughout the UK in multicentre studies.
- Our 6-centre induced pluripotent stem-cell network provides high throughput production of the brain cell types essential to the identification of the mechanisms underlying dementia.
Experimental medicine networks
The DPUK experimental medicine networks bring together academic and industry experts to increase the number of scientists and organisations conducting innovative experimental studies and robust clinical trials in dementia.
Clinical studies register
DPUK is in the process of creating a clinical studies register to enable better recruitment to dementia studies. DPUK cohort members are highly valuable to clinical studies owing to the detailed information that is already available on their lifestyle, medical history, genetics, and more. By inviting members of cohorts to make themselves available for dementia research, DPUK will enable a new generation of highly informative clinical studies.
The challenges posed by the dementias are complex. Addressing them will demand a response that is coordinated and sustained over the long-term. It will demand 'cross-fertilisation' with new ideas from multiple disciplines. DPUK is helping to achieve this. It combines the creativity of the best researchers from both academia and industry with the R&D knowledge and know-how of world-leading pharmaceuticals companies – and all are committed to the effort for the long term.
Dementia is a growing global problem that requires an inclusive and international response. The DPUK model of holding data in a single secure location provides an efficient analysis environment that can be replicated. To increase the availability of cohort data internationally, Dementias Platform UK is committed to sharing its learning and infrastructure with researchers across the world and in developing new, international partnerships.
DPUK brings together the people who have the power to tackle dementia – those who have generously given their time to be studied as part of a cohort, and those who dedicate their life to researching the disease. The platform makes the most of their expertise, creating new tools and resources to deliver research to accelerate pathways for future medicines. Through this effort, we also facilitate training for new scientists to better ensure future growth in our understanding of the dementias. DPUK is supporting scientists across the world to generate the new knowledge needed to help people live longer, cognitively healthier lives.