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New Chairs confirmed for NIHR Dementia Translational Research Collaboration

Dementia chairs

Published: 12 May 2023

The NIHR Dementia Translational Research Collaboration (D-TRC) are pleased to announce its new leadership. They will spearhead the next five years of clinical dementia research development and delivery. The new Chair and joint Deputy Chairs will be at the forefront of convening dementia expertise and leading ground-breaking translational dementia research.

They will play a critical role in coordinating UK dementia research in early phase clinical trials. This is a key part of the Dame Barbara Windsor Dementia Mission. The D-TRC has so far shown remarkable ambition in their approach to support the goals of this Mission. Offering a wider, more collaborative and cohesive network.

Dementia is one of the most important health and social care challenges facing the world. Improving diagnosis and treatment for the condition is a top priority for both the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the NIHR.

The New Leaders of the Dementia TRC

The NIHR Dementia TRC are pleased to announce Dr Catherine Mummery as the new Dementia TRC Chair. She will work alongside Professor John-Paul Taylor and Dr Vanessa Raymont who will take on the roles of joint Deputy Chair. Dr Mummery will be taking over from Professor David Burn of NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre.

We would like to extend our gratitude to Professor Burn for his contributions and leadership during his time as the Dementia TRC Chair. He has been critical to ensuring the cohesiveness of the group. Leading the D-TRC with fairness, tact, diplomacy and skill. He has also provided his expert knowledge to all when required.

He has built momentum and galvanized the D-TRC over the last 12 months by leveraging grant funding for research. £7.17M was leveraged by the D-TRC into new dementia research during this time. Furthermore, he engaged with the wider research community in his role as Chair of the D-TRC. As a key member of the Dementias Platform UK, he provided expert input into the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia. He offered his expert advice to DHSC on the Dementia Moonshot and led discussions between the D-TRC and the Dementia Industry Group.

The new Chair and Deputy Chairs will work with the NIHR and wider infrastructure. They will also collaborate with the charities Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK.

Dr Mummery said: “I am thrilled to be appointed to this role as chair of the NIHR Dementia Translational Research Collaboration. This presents a unique and timely opportunity to make the UK a global leader in early phase clinical trials in dementia. We are entering a new era in potential treatments for AD and other diseases. It is critical we seize the moment and come together as a community to speed up therapies and optimise chances for our patients”.

For Professor John-Paul Taylor, creating a pathway for people living with dementia to take part in clinical trials is important to him. He said: “At the moment, approximately less than one in 100 people living with dementia take part in dementia clinical trials in the UK. Addressing this challenge is critical to discovering new and effective treatments. As joint deputy chair of the Dementia TRC, I am immensely excited that I can contribute to this fantastic initiative. It means that, at scale, we will be able to offer many more people living with dementia the opportunity to take part in meaningful clinical trials.”

Dr Vanessa Raymont added: “Being appointed to the role of joint deputy chair of the Dementia TRC is a huge honour. Looking back on my experience of dementia research over the last 30 years, this is truly an exciting time. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Dementia TRC and beyond to bring the amazing infrastructure we have in the UK together to further clinical trials.”

Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society said: “We welcome these appointments and the increase in investment that this vital piece of the UK clinical trial infrastructure is going to receive.

“The benefits of hosting clinical trials are convincing. In 2019, the total estimated income for the NHS from delivering commercial clinical trials across all disease areas was £355 million. A growing industry pipeline in dementia means this is an area of huge opportunity for UK clinical research. We are at a turning point in the fight against dementia. Now is the time to invest in clinical research."

Dr Oakley’s support for the appointment is echoed by David Thomas, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, who said: “We are delighted that Cath, John-Paul and Vanessa are taking on these roles. I know that they have the skills and experience to maximise this opportunity. They will aim to raise the UK’s profile in dementia clinical research on a global stage. We look forward to working with them on this important agenda.

“There is an urgent need to futureproof the UK’s clinical trial capacity and infrastructure. This is essential for attracting industry investment to the UK and increasing the number of people with dementia who take part in trials.”

About Dr Catherine Mummery

About Professor John-Paul Taylor

About Dr Vanessa Raymont

Find out more about the Dementia Translational Research Collaboration

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