A new organisation has been launched to offer every person in Ireland, at risk of or living with dementia, the opportunity to access clinical trials.
Dementia Trials Ireland (DTI) is being funded by the Health Research Board for five years.
It will develop a national infrastructure to develop, attract and conduct dementia clinical trials across the State.
DTI will involve lay and professional members of Ireland’s dementia community and will provide a variety of supports ranging from social and creative arts interventions, such as dance therapy to complex drug interventions.
The lead at DTI, Prof Iracema Leroi, said that in the past 25 years nearly all the clinical trials for new dementia drugs have not been successful.
She said that in most fields, this would cause profound nihilism.
“However, the overwhelming need for trials and the high prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, demands that we in the dementia community continue to seek a solution,” she said.
Prof Leroi said that more trials were needed, more interventions to trial, and more people volunteering to participate in trials. The co-leader of the project is Prof Seán Kennelly of Tallaght University Hospital.
To date, DTI says that only a few centres in Ireland have conducted dementia trials, meaning that only a handful of the over 65,000 people with dementia have had the opportunity to participate in a study and access the potentially important treatment.
By Fergal Bowers