Publish date: 18 May 2023

UCLH consultant neurologist Dr Catherine Mummery has been announced as the new Chair of the National Institute for Health and Care Research Dementia Translational Research Collaboration (D-TRC).

Dr Mummery, alongside two new joint Deputy Chairs of the D-TRC, will spearhead the next five years of clinical dementia research development and delivery, and be at the forefront of convening dementia expertise and leading ground-breaking translational dementia research.

The new joint Deputy Chairs are Professor John-Paul Taylor, who is lead for dementia at the NIHR Newcastle BRC, and Dr Vanessa Raymont, R&D Director at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Mummery will take over as Chair from Professor David Burn of NIHR Newcastle BRC.

Together 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 – the national vision to tackle dementia and double research funding to £160 million a year by 2024.

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 Chair and Deputy Chairs will work with the NIHR and wider infrastructure, and will also collaborate with the charities Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK.

Dr Mummery, who is supported by the NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre, 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.”

Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society said: “We welcome these appointments and the increase in investment that this vital piece of the UK clinical trial infrastructure is going to receive.

“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. A growing industry pipeline in dementia means this is an area of huge opportunity for UK clinical research. We are at a turning point in the fight against dementia. Now is the time to invest in clinical research."

David Thomas, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, 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 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.”