Leaders announced for national Mission to tackle dementia

The government has announced two leaders in dementia research to lead the national Mission to tackle dementia.

Hilary Evans and Nadeem Sarwar will chair the national Mission to tackle dementia, which was launched in memory of Dame Barbara Windsor.

Hilary Evans is the Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, which is the largest charitable funder of dementia research in Europe. Nadeem Sarwar is currently a senior leader at Eisai, which one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. The leaders will convene industry, the NHS, academia and families living with dementia.

Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman said: “Dementia is an especially cruel condition for both patients and their loved ones; as Dame Barbara’s brave campaigning made powerfully clear for all. Breakthroughs in neuroscience like the Nobel Prize-winning work of John Gurdon and his team, combined with patient cohort studies and the integration of genomics, big data and clinical research offers hope of new diagnostics, treatments and cures.

“The UK is determined to help lead this by harnessing the power of the NHS as a research engine. That’s why as 1st UK Minister of Life Science we hosted the first G20 Dementia Summit in London, and launched the Dementia Research Institute and Dementia Research Fund. Patient engagement is key, which is why our new Dementia Mission is patient centred with a key role for dementia charities.

“Hilary and Nadeem will be instrumental in that, by driving this project in the spirit of Dame Barbara and all those desperate for hope of a cure. As cancer has become a treatable and increasingly curable disease in our lifetime, so too can dementia.”

The ‘Dame Barbara Windsor Dementia Mission’ was launched in August 2022 and aims to develop innovative research tools and boost the number and speed of clinical trials in dementia and neurodegeneration.

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “I’m delighted to take on this vital role as co-chair of the UK’s Dementia Mission, alongside Nadeem. Over the last decade, I have developed partnerships with industry, academia and the NHS and will be ensuring that people with dementia are at the heart of this Mission.  This significant initiative will drive forward progress in dementia research and bring us closer to a cure.

“Dementia research has made great strides in recent years, but there is still important progress to be made on multiple fronts, and this needs effective collaboration across the whole dementia landscape.  From researchers, to regulatory bodies responsible for making sure patients can access safe and effective treatments without delay, and of course the NHS and research workforce. I look forward to working closely with Nadeem to make this happen, and help ensure the UK is at the forefront of dementia research for years to come.”

Professor Nadeem Sarwar said: “Driven by rapid and ongoing scientific advances, we have arrived at a true inflection in dementia research and innovation. We now have an unprecedented scientific foundation upon which to build, to deliver transformative solutions for people with and at risk of dementia. The UK – anchored by its world-class scientific ecosystem that intersects scalable human biology, health technology and data sciences – has the opportunity to serve as a global catalyst and help lead the fight against dementia. I am humbled, and inspired, therefore to serve as the Co-Chair of the UK Dementia Mission, and look forward to working with Hilary to help realize this vision.”


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay