A landmark new initiative aims to make Greater Manchester a centre of excellence for NHS research that could one day cure dementia.
The Greater Manchester Dementia Research Centre (GMDRC) will be the first of its kind in the Northwest of England and has been made possible through funding, infrastructure and support from key NHS partners who are leading the fight against dementia. They include:
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) – the leading provider of mental health services in Greater Manchester and one of the most research-active mental health trusts in the country.
National Institute for Health Research, Clinical Research Network, Greater Manchester (CRN GM) – one of the leading networks for dementia clinical research in the UK.
Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Strategic Clinical Networks – which provide strategic leadership and advice to improve health and care services for people living with dementia in the region.
GMDRC will be officially launched on Monday 16 April 2018.
The ‘virtual’ centre will utilise the outstanding clinical and academic infrastructure which already exists across the partners.
The centre will be a focus of clinical research activity for dementia by strengthening existing partnerships and seeking out new collaborations across a wide range of disciplines and expertise. It will allow the existing strong research portfolio to grow further, offering people with dementia and their families even more opportunities to access cutting edge treatments and shape future care.
Why is the GMDRC being launched?
Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurodegenerative conditions that lead to dementia are key concerns for our ageing population.
More than 30,0000 people in Greater Manchester are living with dementia and, due to the chronic progressive nature of the condition, will do so for many years to come.
There is currently no cure for the disease and existing medications can only treat some of the symptoms.
To discover and licence treatments to beat dementia, there is an urgent need to undertake more clinical research studies. Only through research is it possible to better understand dementia and bring about improvements in its prevention, treatment and care. This research can only take place with the generous help of people who have dementia and their families. GMDRC will accelerate this process by being:
- A leading hub for clinical studies sponsored by academic and commercial partners.
- A testing site for new technologies to support brain health in older people.
- A strategic partner to develop clinical dementia research in low and middle income countries.
Chris Daly, Medical Director at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to have supported the Greater Manchester Dementia Research Centre through our Research Capability Funding.
“The themes that are the basis for projects delivered by the DRC are consistent with the dementia and Later Life clinical services provided by the Trust, and reflect the commitment of GMMH to improve understanding of dementia, and diversify the range of interventions for brain health that we can offer to our service users.
“Dementia is one of the research areas of strategic priority for the Trust, and our hope is that the launch of the GMDRC today will not only strengthen the portfolio of research that the Trust is involved in, but also improve outcomes and understanding of dementia within clinical services in Greater Manchester, nationally and internationally.”
Angela Parker, Research Delivery Manager (NIHR CRN GM), said: “Our new centre is a culmination of several years of dedicated work from a fantastic and highly skilled research delivery team. We have succeeded through partnership working across GM which is the ethos of the new GMDRC. In this year alone we have supported 58 NIHR research studies across GM within the specialties of dementias and neurodegenerative diseases and we aim to keep building on this work over the coming years. Research offers hope for our patients and families across GM.”
Iracema Leroi, Professor of Psychiatry of Aging and Dementia with the University of Manchester and co-director of the new centre, said: “This is an exciting time for clinical dementia research and we are in a prime position to provide world-class research opportunities for the people of Greater Manchester.”