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Alun Cairns visits UK DRI at Cardiff University

3 May 2019

Alun Cairns at the DRI

On Thursday 2 May the Rt Hon Alun Cairns visited the UK DRI at Cardiff University: a £20 million centre aimed at finding effective treatments for dementia.

During his visit the Secretary of State was given a tour of the laboratories and met several dementia researchers.

The Cardiff centre is one of six that together make up the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI): a joint £290 million investment from the Medical Research Council (MRC), Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Launched in November 2018, the UK DRI at Cardiff is building upon research strengths in dementia genetics; immunology; computational analytics; cellular and whole system modelling; and neuroimaging to identify disease mechanisms and therapies for a range of dementias including Alzheimer’s disease.

In recent years, more than 40 genes which contribute to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease have been discovered and the team at Cardiff is using this knowledge to work on new theories and discoveries.

Alun Cairns and Julie Williams with DRI researcher

A keen advocate for people with dementia, on 29 April the Secretary of State for Wales ran the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon for its Charity of the Year, Dementia Revolution.

The Dementia Revolution campaign brings together Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK to power groundbreaking dementia research and lead the charge towards a cure. The Secretary of State raised over £6,000 which will be spent on dementia research.

The Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “After running the London Marathon in support of Dementia Revolution last week, it is great to see that Cardiff University are conducting ground-breaking research into the treatment and prevention of Dementia. The new £20 million Dementia Research Centre at Cardiff University indicates the growing strength of innovative scientific research in Wales and cements Cardiff University’s reputation for academic excellence.

“With over 45,000 people living with Dementia in Wales, Cardiff University’s revolutionary research is helping to change the outlook of thousands of people across Wales living with the disease today and in the future.

Alun Cairns

Professor Julie Williams, Director of the UK DRI at Cardiff University, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to the UK DRI at Cardiff University and keen to show him the type of innovative research that is made possible by the funds he has raised at the London Marathon.

“Continued investment in dementia research is crucial if we want to discover new ways of treating and preventing this set of devastating diseases and transforming the outlook for people who are living with them today and in the future.”

Dementia is the biggest health threat facing society today and there are currently no effective treatments to slow, prevent or cure it. Today almost one million people in the UK are living with a form of dementia, the most common one being Alzheimer’s disease. Sadly, one in three of us will be affected by dementia in some way.

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