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Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) was established to enhance research into dementia, so we find effective treatment sooner.

DPUK was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to facilitate and accelerate the discovery of new ways to understand, diagnose, and treat dementia. It is a public-private partnership that offers facilitated access to detailed information for over 3 million individuals, from 47 long-term studies of health, known as 'cohort' studies. By joining data from all these studies, DPUK provides an integrated and collaborative environment, bringing together scientists from academia and industry to share knowledge and conduct joint research programmes. It is a foundation for new ways of working with academia, industry, regulators, health care providers, patients and the public.

A single, secure data repository

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.

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

The large number of individuals in our cohorts allows key research questions to be answered more rigorously and more rapidly than would otherwise be possible.

To make the best use of these data resources, DPUK has established a number of collaborative initiatives with universities across the UK to enable discovery and testing of new disease concepts, diagnostics or potential treatments.


Technology networks
DPUK technology networks promote a new generation of medical experiments targeting specific mechanisms through shared state-of-the art technologies and streamlined procedures.

  • Our five-centre Informatics network provides coordinated digital data collection, curation, storage, and access management for all major data modalities and for all study designs.
  • Our seven-centre Imaging network enables high quality molecular and structural brain imaging studies to be conducted throughout the UK in multicentre studies.
  • Our six-centre Stem cell network provides high throughput production of the brain cell types essential to the identification of the mechanisms underlying dementia.

Experimental medicine
The DPUK research communities bring together academic and industry experts to increase the number of scientists and organisations conducting innovative experimental studies and robust clinical trials in dementia.

Great Minds - our clinical studies register 
Great Minds will 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.

Strategic partnerships


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 combines the creativity of the best researchers from both academia and industry with the R&D skills and knowledge of world-leading pharmaceuticals companies in strategic partnership initiatives. We bring 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.

We are an intellectually generous community sharing data, best practice and technologies.

  • Our For researchers pages are where scientists can learn more about the free resources available to them.

We are a creative community harnessing new ideas, new technologies and new ways of working.

  • The Our impact area of the site provides more information about new methods and technologies scientists are now working with.

We are a collaborative community inviting all stakeholders to join our programmes and shape our activity.

  • Researchers from a wide range of backgrounds are encouraged to join our research communities – diverse groups of scientists in different institutions who work together on common issues and challenges.

We are an enabling community facilitating the leverage of further resources for dementia research.

 

Our university and industry partners have expertise in many different fields, all critical to our mission to maximise the value of long-term health studies in the development of new treatments.

 

AstraZeneca

 

DPUK scientists in AstraZeneca are collaborators on the NTAD study, a large study using MEG scans of the brain in the search for the earliest signs of dementia.

Cambridge

 

DPUK scientists in Cambridge are working on a number of different areas including synaptic health, statistical methods, and wider ethical issues surrounding DPUK's work. 

Cardiff

DPUK scientists in Cardiff have developed the Genetics platform – a suite of data discovery tools for researchers looking to work with complex genetic data in their research.

Edinburgh

 

DPUK scientists in Edinburgh contribute expertise in cognitive assessment, an important diagnostic tool for dementia. The team in Edinburgh have developed a new battery of tests in the UK's largest long-term health study. Edinburgh teams are also working on electronic health records and vascular elements to dementia.

Manchester

DPUK scientists in Manchester are developing the DPUK wearables platform – technology which will allow researchers to make use of the important information collected by devices such as smart watches. Work to harmonise DPUK's MR-PET scanner network also takes place in Manchester. 

Araclon Biotech

DPUK scientists in Araclon Biotech are collaborators in our work in biomarker development for dementia.

IXICO

 IXICO scientists provide expertise in the development and management of platforms for MRI and MEG data in the Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study.

janssen

DPUK scientists in Janssen are collaborators on the NTAD study, a large study using MEG scans of the brain in the search for the earliest signs of dementia.
Newcastle-University-logo DPUK scientists in Newcastle are investigating whether the characteristics of how people walk can be a useful early warning sign of Alzheimer's disease. Read the news story.
Somalogic Scientists in Somalogic have developed the SOMAscan technology which is being used in DPUK's work in biomarker development.
swansea_university_logo The DPUK team in Swansea has developed the Data Portal – a groundbreaking new resource of rich data for the research community.
GSK Research scientists with stem cell expertise and resources in GSK are collaborating with university-based researchers in the DPUK Stem cells network.
Imperial DPUK scientists at Imperial College London contribute expertise in brain scanning and form part of the DPUK Imaging network.
Kings College London DPUK scientists at Kings College London have assessed and developed recommendations for best practice in brain donation – a key area for dementia research. Other teams are investigating the role of heart health in dementia.
Oxford wide DPUK scientists in Oxford lead many aspects of the Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study, including  the investigation of cellular features of the disease development. Work to conduct repeat brain scans on a segment of the UK Biobank study is also led from Oxford.
UCL DPUK scientists in UCL work with the small, specialist studies of the cases of familial dementia. Other teams are working with the 'Insight 1946' study, conducting repeat advanced brain scans on a segment of this important group of people. 
Invicro Scientists in Invicro bring expertise in brain imaging to the DPUK partnership.
camcog_large_logo_rgb_1200_dpi.jpg Scientists in Cambridge Cognition contribute expertise in cloud-based cognitive testing to the DPUK partnership.
UniversityofExetercolour_logo.jpg Exeter is an important research site for the multicentre Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study.
Cognetivity_primary-colour.png Cognetivity's cognitive testing software is offered to DPUK cohort studies to enhance the data they collect.

 

 

Our annual review details DPUK's key progress and achievements in our fourth year.

Download a copy of the annual review 2018

Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) is a multi-million pound public-private partnership which launched in 2014. DPUK is directed by Professor John Gallacher (University of Oxford) and is supported by an executive team of ten other representatives from our academic and industry partners.

Governance structure© Ben Higgins

Our governance structure

A steering group of 20 senior scientists, many of whom lead projects across the platform, influence the scientific direction of the project by making recommendations to the executive team.

The Company Partner Forum (CPF) is made up of representatives from each of DPUK's industry partners. Together they apply their longstanding industry experience, advising on the development of DPUK resources so they meet the needs of those who are developing treatments.  

The director and executive team, in turn, report to an MRC-appointed Oversight Board twice a year. The board oversees DPUK activity and advises on opportunities or changes for the project. Its members are UK and international experts in the field of dementia.

DPUK is supported by four international advisors, all experts in the field of dementia and neurodegenerative disease.

Our funding

Dementias Platform UK has received £53 million from the UK Medical Research Council. Each of our industry partners also makes a contribution – financial or in-kind – to enable our work. The amount of additional funding for dementia research that we have attracted can be seen in the table below.

 

£ m

Funder and project

Principal Investigator

University

Funding type

16

MRC-industry core funding

John Gallacher

Cardiff

Core

37

MRC clinical research infrastructure:
Imaging network
Stem cells network
Informatics network

Paul Matthews 
Richard Wade-Martins
Simon Lovestone

Imperial College London, 

Oxford

Oxford

Core

1

MRC: Imaging partnership

Karl Herholz

Manchester

Supported

1

MRC: Stem Cells partnership

Siddharthan Chandran

Edinburgh

Supported

0.3

Alzheimer's Research UK (ARUK): Imaging

David Thomas

University College London

Supported

2

Stroke Association: Vascular Risk

Joanna Wardlaw

Edinburgh

Supported

0.5

Janssen and Alzheimer's Research UK (ARUK): Synaptic Health

James Rowe

Cambridge

Supported

60

Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI): European Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia Consortium (EPAD)

Craig Ritchie

Edinburgh

Enabled

7

MRC National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): Deep and Frequent Phenotyping

Simon Lovestone

Oxford

Enabled

3.4

Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI): Real World Outcomes Across the Alzheimer's Disease Spectrum (ROADS)

John Gallacher

Oxford

Enabled

1.1

MRC: UK7T partnership 

James Rowe

Cambridge

Enabled

7

MRC clinical research infrastructure: UK7T

James Rowe

Cambridge

Enabled

0.1

MRC: Korea

Chi-Hun Kim

Oxford

Enabled

Research income generated: £83.4 m (157% of core funding)

 

 

Annual report 2017