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DPUK strengthens its collaboration as the University of Exeter joins the public-private partnership, furthering dementia research by drawing on the distinct power of cohort studies.

University of exeter joins dementias platform uk University of Exeter

Now comprising 18 partners – 7 industry companies and 11 universities – the DPUK public-private partnership is proving ever more central to the principal organisations involved in research and development for dementia treatments in the UK. By joining our growing collaboration, the University of Exeter will work actively with DPUK to achieve our goals: fast-tracking scientific understanding, treatments and prevention of dementia.

Cohorts – the long-term population studies used to investigate the causes of disease, establishing links between risk factors and health outcomes – form the foundation of DPUK’s research strengths. When researchers are able to draw upon these rich datasets in their studies, they are able to make advances in understanding the nuances in the development brain disease, the early signs for example, leading from new insights to new treatments.  

The University of Exeter will contribute to this important area by providing access to a number of their valuable research cohorts. The Exeter cohorts, including PROTECT and Exeter 10,000, will be accessible through the DPUK Data Portal, a globally unique resource of cohort data at unprecedented detail and scale, optimised for dementia research.

Dementias Platform UK brings together data from two million people to enable researchers from partner universities to work together to achieve a step change in scientific knowledge and treatments for people with dementia. I’m really excited that Exeter is now a full member – it is an endorsement of our outstanding research in this field and I’m looking forward to the benefits it will mean for UK research and people living with dementia.
- Clive Ballard, Professor of Age-Related Diseases and Dean of the University of Exeter Medical School

PROTECT is an innovative online cohort of cognitively healthy volunteers aged 50 or over, which aims to understand how the brain ages. So far, 25,000 people are signed up, with more international roll-out planned. The online nature of the platform means multiple trials can be conducted simultaneously, on lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, brain training and food supplements, and on genetics, via postal swabs.

Exeter 10,000 has recruited more than 10,000 people who have provided their data and samples of blood and urine to be used anonymously for health research. The majority of participants also agree to be contacted again if their health or lifestyle profiles match the requirements of future research studies. The project is a partnership involving the Medical School and the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

John Gallacher, Director of Dementias Platform UK, said, “We’re delighted that the University of Exeter is joining DPUK as a full academic partner. Exeter will make a great contribution. These cohorts and Exeter’s expertise in population studies and epigenetics will be invaluable to DPUK.”