Government Announces New Plans to Boost Medical Research

Alzheimer’s Research UK has broadly welcomed the government’s announcement to boost research and innovation in life sciences in the UK. The Prime Minister’s speech, which coincides with the release of the government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences, has pushed for greater collaboration between the health service and private medical companies to promote medical advances in the UK.

As part of the package of new measures proposed, David Cameron has laid out plans to allow private health care companies access to anonymised patient records from the NHS. Other schemes set out in the life science strategy include a £180m ‘catalyst fund’ to drive the development of new treatments and technologies, and an ‘early access scheme’ to allow some seriously ill patients to have access to new drugs which have shown promise in clinical trials but not yet been fully licensed.

The government hopes that the strategy will boost the life sciences industry in the UK, seen as a great potential area for economic growth. By making it easier for medical advances to reach the clinic, it hopes to provide greater benefit to patients and maintain the UK’s position as a global leader in research and innovation despite the tough economic climate.

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“The Prime Minister’s announcement has the potential to give patients more effective treatments sooner.

“A scheme to make greater use of public data will need to be subject to tight regulation, but if it could drive the development of new treatments and advance our knowledge of global health problems such as dementia, we should allow it to be fully considered.

“The prime minister has highlighted the achievements being made by UK dementia scientists. It is essential that the advances being made are translated into patient benefits as quickly as possible. With dementia research so hugely underfunded, effective collaborations between charity funders, pharmaceutical companies and the NHS could lead to the breakthroughs we so desperately need.

“With 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia, we must invest in research now if we are to beat this devastating disease.”

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