The University of Exeter Medical School has been confirmed as a full partner of Dementias Platform UK (DPUK), a partnership of leading universities and prominent industry names striving for better research in dementia.
DPUK is a public-private partnership funded by the Medical Research Council. It aims to bring together researchers from universities and industry to develop effective treatments for dementia.
Exeter is the latest of several academic partners to join the prestigious list, which includes the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and King’s College London, as well as industry partners such as GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca.
By joining this large and growing collaboration, the University will actively work with DPUK on the achievement of its goals: fast-tracking scientific understanding, treatments and prevention of the dementia.
Clive Ballard, Professor of Age Related Diseases and Dean of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “Dementias Platform UK brings together data from 2 million people to enable researchers from partner universities to work together to achieve a step change in scientific knowledge and treatments for people with dementia. I’m really excited that Exeter is now a full member - it is an endorsement of our outstanding research in this field and I’m looking forward to the benefits it will mean for UK research and people living with dementia.”
John Gallacher, Director of Dementias Platform UK, said: “We’re delighted that the University of Exeter is joining DPUK as a full academic partner. Exeter will make a great contribution. Their expertise in population studies and epigenetics will be invaluable to DPUK.”
Cohort or population studies – used to investigate the causes of disease, establishing links between risk factors and health outcomes – are a core component of DPUK’s research strengths. The University of Exeter will contribute to this important area by providing access to valuable research platforms, such as PROTECT and Exeter 10,000.
PROTECT is an innovative online cohort of cognitively healthy volunteers aged 50 or over, which aims to understand how the brain ages. So far, 25,000 people are signed up, with more international roll-out planned. The online nature of the platform means multiple trials can be conducted simultaneously, on lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, brain training and food supplements, and on genetics, via postal swabs.
Exeter 10,000 has recruited more than 10,000 people who have provided their data and samples of blood and urine to be used anonymously for health research. The majority of participants also agree to be contacted again if their health or lifestyle profiles match the requirements of future research studies. The project is a partnership involving the Medical School and the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research.