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UK DRI: celebrating 5 years of research impact

The UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) represents the largest investment the UK has ever made in dementia research. Alzheimer's Society is proud to have been a founding funder, and now a funding partner of the UK DRI.

The UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) was launched in 2017 and represents the largest investment the UK has ever made in dementia research.

A strong focus of the UK DRI is to fill the gaps in our knowledge about dementia, and ultimately better the lives of people affected by dementia now and in the future. 

The UK DRI was established thanks to the investment of three founding funders, the Medical Research Council (MRC), Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

 Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society commented:

As a founding partner and funder of the UK DRI we are very proud of what the institute has achieved since its launch in 2017. We congratulate everyone involved in placing it on the map as a global leader in dementia research and for the great impact it has had so far.

The UK DRI is hosted by six leading Universities and connects dementia researchers from across the UK so that they can work together to better understand, diagnose and treat the diseases that cause dementia.

William Rucker Chairman, UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) said:

The UK DRI has quickly established itself as a world leading institute, making important contributions to dementia research and becoming one of the most cited research institutes in the field.

'The scientists I speak to are confident that the discoveries made by the UK DRI, and the thriving wider community of partners and collaborators, will yield breakthroughs. If we continue to take strides forwards as we have in the last few years, I am confident that for our children’s generation, things will be different’.

UK DRI researchers, no matter where they are based in the UK work together, collaborating and sharing cutting edge techniques and ideas to help answer some of the biggest questions in dementia research today.

At present, there are over 800 researchers within the UK DRI, working towards increasing our understanding dementia, improving diagnosis and developing new treatments and technologies that will improve the lives of people living with dementia.  

Alzheimer’s Society is proud to be investing £6.5million in the UK DRI over the next 5 years. This investment will be targeted towards UK DRI research which aims to improve the way in which we diagnose and detect the diseases that cause dementia and towards the Care and Technology centre hosted by Imperial College London.  

Fiona Carragher said: 'Critical research into developing new diagnostic tools to ensure people living with dementia receive an early and accurate diagnosis, potentially giving them access to one of the disease-modifying treatments we hope to see emerging from the clinical trials pipeline in the coming years’.

Diagnosis research at the UK DRI is trying to improve diagnosis in through a variety of different methods. One of the most exciting techniques we can use to detect the diseases that cause dementia earlier and more accurately than ever before is by using biomarkers.

Biomarkers are proteins or “red flags” that are associated with different diseases of the brain that cause dementia. They can be found the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid) or more recently, using incredibly sensitive new equipment, in the blood. 

 'We are also passionate about the work of the Care Research and Technology centre which is revolutionising the way people living with dementia are cared for, to help them live better for longer today. So much has been accomplished by the UK DRI so far and we look forward to working with this vibrant community of researchers in the future,' added Fiona Carragher.

Professor Henrik Zetterberg is a world leading UK DRI researcher and a renowned expert in detecting different biomarkers associated with different types of dementia. He and his team are developing ultrasensitive tests that can be used to detect these proteins to help detect diseases like Alzheimer’s disease earlier than ever before.

We are proud to have partnered with the UKDRI over the last 5 years. The research that has emerged from these centres gives us hope for the future for people living with dementia and their loved ones.

What research is Alzheimer's Society funding?

We fund a variety of dementia research projects and initiatives across the UK to help improve care, understand causes and work towards a cure.

Learn more