DEMENTIA HELP: Powerful groups are joining together in the dementia battle.
DEMENTIA HELP: Powerful groups are joining together in the dementia battle.

Dementia cure quest turbocharged by new network

THE SEARCH for a cure for dementia has received a big boost today with the announcement of a new network to support memory centres and a registry of clinical trial volunteers to fast-track research.

Universities, philanthropists, industry, research centres and State governments are joining the Federal Government in making possible the Australian Dementia Network (ADNet).

"This is the accelerator we need to win the race against dementia," Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said. "It's estimated 1700 Australians a week are joining the population living with dementia and without breakthroughs in beating this disease, that figure will reach 650 a day by 2050.

"Dementia is already the biggest killer of Australian women and the second most common cause of death among the overall population, claiming more than 13,000 lies each year."

The government announced ADNeT will: 

  • Establish a national network of memory clinics to speed assessment of cognitive disorders and improve specialist access for all Australians, through advanced imaging, genetics and lifestyle data.
  • Register and prepare volunteers for participation in clinical trials and other research programs by providing them with state of the art diagnosis and tracking their disease trajectory.
  • Collate and compare data to chart dementia causes, progression and risks and potential new treatments, while supporting research participants and benchmarking clinical care.
  • Ensure Australian and international data can be shared, providing unprecedented research access to global data and collaboration, to inform prevention, treatment and care.

"Through ADNeT, Australia joins the international push to use large-scale national registries to expedite research and beat dementia," Minister Wyatt said. "ADNet will lift the standard of Australian dementia diagnosis and care, with a coordinated and consistent approach.

"By significantly increasing public access to, and participation in, clinical trials it will also speed the development and approval of new prevention and treatment therapies."

ADNet will drive research and deliver improvements through five core teams - registry, clinics, trials, technology and business - with close links to leading international programs in Europe and the USA.

"ADNeT means Australia will be a strong contributor to, and an early beneficiary of, the worldwide search for dementia treatments and cures," Minister Wyatt said. "At present, an estimated 425,000 Australians are living with dementia. The potential power of ADNet is our best hope of preventing that number reaching more than one million by 2050."


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