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This timeline shows disappointingly slow progress in the development of effective treatment but better data offers hope © DPUK

 Better data offers hope

Researching treatments for the complex degenerative diseases that cause dementia happens in many different disciplines. Cell studies in the laboratories, big databases of health records and computer models of disease are all important in the search for a cure.  When cell researchers investigate blood samples from cohort participants they are able to identify patterns of cellular change over time and see if this is matched to an individual's brain health.  It's an important way that scientists, and those conducting drug trials, are increasing their understanding of how to combat dementia. 

When researchers study the people for whom we have a lot of data – the people who take part 'cohort' studies – we are in a much stronger position to make the breakthroughs we need in the dementia treatment deadlock.
John Gallacher, Director of Dementias Platform UK

Better technology offers hope

To maximise our chances of finding treatment, scientists need to run studies on a bigger scale. DPUK's imaging network of seven state-of-the-art scanners is one example of how technology makes this possible. Brain scans provide crucial information on the structure and workings of our most complex organ. The network allows teams to run large studies, and share their data safely, obtaining the vital information on a scale that provides reliable insights.

A clinical studies register

The natural progression in dementia research is to link DPUK's rich cohort data to the individuals in a cohort and invite them to participate in studies and clinical trials. DPUK is developing a clinical studies register. You can read more about this work here.

Our work with others

DPUK is one of several UK initiatives which contribute to drug development. The Dementia Research InstituteARUK’s Drug Discovery Institutes, the Translational Research Centres for Dementia and the Join Dementia Research initiative operate in different stages of the drug development pipeline – from looking at the biology of the disease through to the identification of molecules with the potential to modify disease progression, and the trialling of new treatments in people. DPUK contributes at all of these stages.