They will play a critical role in coordinating UK dementia research in early phase clinical trials. This is a key part of the Dame Barbara Windsor Dementia Mission, via their leadership of the NIHR’s Dementia TRC. The D-TRC has so far shown remarkable ambition in their approach to support the goals of this Mission. Offering a wider, more collaborative and cohesive network. The over-arching goal is the elevation of the UK as the world-leading place to conduct early phase clinical trials in dementia.
Dementia is one of the most important health and social care challenges facing the world. Improving diagnosis and treatment for the condition is a top priority for both the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the NIHR.
The New Leaders of the Dementia TRC
The NIHR Dementia TRC are pleased to announce Dr Catherine Mummery as the new Dementia TRC Chair. She will work alongside Professor John-Paul Taylor and Dr Vanessa Raymont who will take on the roles of joint Deputy Chair. Dr Mummery will be taking over from Professor David Burn of NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre.
We would like to extend our gratitude to Professor Burn for his contributions and leadership during his time as the Dementia TRC Chair. He has been critical to ensuring the cohesiveness of the group. Leading the D-TRC with fairness, tact, diplomacy and skill. He has also provided his expert knowledge to all when required.
He has built momentum and galvanized the D-TRC over the last 12 months by leveraging grant funding for research. A total of £7.17M was leveraged by the D-TRC into new dementia research in Professor Burn’s final year as Chair of the TRC alone. Furthermore, he engaged with the wider research community in his role as Chair of the D-TRC. As a key member of the Dementias Platform UK, he provided expert input into the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia.
He offered his expert advice to DHSC on the Dementia Moonshot. He led discussions between the D-TRC and the Dementia Industry Group. In 2022, he opened the International Lewy Body Dementia Conference with a welcoming address.
The new Chair and Deputy Chairs will continue the work of the NIHR Dementia TRC in early stage clinical dementia research across the UK. They will work with the NIHR and wider infrastructure. They will also collaborate with the charities Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Dr Mummery said “I am thrilled to be appointed to this role as chair of the NIHR Dementia Translational Research Collaboration. This presents a unique and timely opportunity to make the UK a global leader in early phase clinical trials in dementia. We are entering a new era in potential treatments for AD and other diseases. It is critical we seize the moment and come together as a community to speed up therapies and optimise chances for our patients”.
For Professor John-Paul Taylor, creating a pathway for people living with dementia to take part in clinical trials is important to him. “At the moment, approximately less than one in 100 people living with dementia take part in dementia clinical trials in the UK. Addressing this challenge is critical to discovering new and effective treatments. As joint deputy chair of the Dementia TRC, I am immensely excited that I can contribute to this fantastic initiative. It means that, at scale, we will be able to offer many more people living with dementia the opportunity to take part in meaningful clinical trials.” he said.
Dr Vanessa Raymont added “Being appointed to the role of joint deputy chair of the Dementia TRC is a huge honour. Looking back on my experience of dementia research over the last 30 years, this is truly an exciting time. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Dementia TRC and beyond. To bring the amazing infrastructure we have in the UK together to further clinical trials.” she said.
Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society said: “We welcome the appointment of the new chair and co-chairs of the D-TRC and the increase in investment that this vital piece of the UK clinical trial infrastructure landscape is going to receive. This investment will ensure we accelerate the progress we are making in beating dementia. Ensuring the UK remains one of the best places in the world to conduct clinical research. This will take the dementia community down a path towards a future where dementia no longer devastates lives.”
“We are at a turning point in the fight against dementia. Now is the time to invest in clinical research. To take advantage of recent breakthroughs and deliver the benefit of these advances to patients as soon as possible.”
“The benefits of hosting clinical trials are convincing – in 2019, the total estimated income for the NHS from delivering commercial clinical trials across all disease areas was £355 million. As the leading cause of death in the UK, and with no treatments currently available here, dementia must be a key part of this. A growing industry pipeline in dementia means this is an area of huge opportunity for UK clinical research.” he added.
Dr Oakley’s support for the appointment is echoed by David Thomas, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, who said: “We are delighted that Cath, John-Paul and Vanessa are taking on these roles. I know that they have the skills and experience to maximise this opportunity. They will aim to raise the UK’s profile in dementia clinical research on a global stage. We look forward to working with them on this important agenda.”
“There is an urgent need to increase and futureproof the UK’s clinical trial capacity and infrastructure. This is essential for attracting industry investment to the UK and increasing the number of people with dementia who take part in trials.
About Doctor Catherine Mummery
Dr Cath Mummery is a consultant neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN). She is the Head of Clinical Trials at the Dementia Research Centre, University College London Hospital. She is the Deputy Director at the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre.
In the past 15 years, she has been chief investigator on over 20 early phase drug trials of potential disease modifying agents in sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and genetic forms of AD and frontotemporal dementia.
She is the clinical lead for the UCL Neurogenetic Therapies Programme. She fosters collaboration between industry and academia. Dr Mummery led in developing novel biomarkers in a trial of a genetic therapy. As well as introducing new methods to measure real time change in protein production/clearance in a gene silencing trial.
She was until recently the deputy chair of the NHSE Neuroscience Clinical Reference Group. Chair of the Association of British Neurologists Services Committee. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Research UK taskforce. She is dedicated to raising awareness of dementia and reducing barriers. Also, to early accurate diagnosis, and improving access to potential treatments.
About Professor John-Paul Taylor
Professor John-Paul Taylor is an academic old age psychiatrist. He is an Honorary Consultant at Newcastle University and Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.
Professor John-Paul Taylor graduated with distinction from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He completed an intercalated MD PhD programme in 2001. He worked in the Institute of Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital in London. He completed his clinical academic training in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 2010, he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinical Scientist Fellowship. In 2019, he was appointed Professor of Translational Dementia Research at Newcastle University.
He has published over 200 peer reviewed articles and has edited two books in the field of dementia and old age psychiatry. Professor Taylor’s primary research focuses on the application of neuroimaging and neurophysiological approaches. His work into the development of effective clinical management approaches for people with Lewy body disease is internationally recognized.
Currently, Professor Taylor is the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre lead for dementia. He is the Chief Investigator for the multicentre NIHR HTA COBALT trial.
About Dr Vanessa Raymont
Dr Vanessa Raymont is an academic old age psychiatrist and an honorary consultant and R&D Director at the University of Oxford and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. She completed general adult and old age psychiatry training at St George’s Hospital, the Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry. She worked on clinical trials in the US for 8 years. She returned to the UK to work at Imperial College London, University of Edinburgh and now in Oxford.
Her specific interests are in traumatic brain injury, memory disorders and cognitive impairment. She now has 25 years’ experience. Dr Raymont is an associate director of Dementia Platforms UK and leads the DPUK Trials Delivery Framework. She also serves as a Commissioner for the Commission on Human Medicines. She is the NIHR Dementia and Mental Health Lead for the Thames Valley and South Midlands Clinical Research Network.
She is currently Chief Investigator on the Deep and Frequent Phenotyping (DFP) study, and an NIHR-funded study assessing the use of sertraline to prevent post-head injury depression (STOP-D). She has acted as Principal Investigator on over 20 commercial clinical trials.
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Published: 12 May 2023