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27th September saw the long-awaited launch of Dementia Trials Ireland (DTI). Taking place in the Naughton Institute, TCD, the launch began with a riveting performance by the Forget-Me-Nots choir directed by Norah Walsh.  Mike Hanrahan, current GBHI fellow, singer with Stockton’s Wing and member of the DTI Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) panel joined the choir for ‘A River Rolls On’ a song recorded for his mum Mary who had Vascular dementia.  This moving performance was followed by Professor Iracema Leroi lead of DTI and Provost Dr Linda Doyle introducing DTI and setting the importance of DTI in context. Visiting Professor Martin Rossor joined them to wish DTI well with all its endeavours setting up clinical trials in Ireland.  Professor Sean Kennelly, co-lead DTI chaired a panel discussion, before the event drew to a close. Panel discussion members included Professor Brian Lawlor, Professor Mary McCarron, caregiver Simon Murphy and politician Deirdre Heney who are both members of the DTI PPI panel and Bronagh Hayden from Biogen.  The launch was organised by Karen Meenan, PPI and Comms lead for DTI, supported by Lara Gibney Network Coordinator for DTI.

DTI has received funding for five years from the Health Research Board (HRB) to develop and expand dementia clinical trials in Ireland. The trials that are currently in place are small and DTI intends to not only expand but also include diverse types of studies, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological, suitable for all stages and sub-types of dementia. Imaging, biomarkers and neuropsychological methods will be used to assess healthy volunteers, carers, and people with dementia who take part in a trial. The aim of DTI is to improve the lives of those at risk of, or living with, dementia and that everyone has the opportunity to access clinical trials.

Karen Meenan
Author: Karen Meenan