A consortium is trying to change the narrative around the woeful state of Alzheimer’s drugs

Every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. The total number of people living with dementia is expected to double every twenty years. For now, there is no cure for any form of dementia, and precious few treatments for symptoms.

The Dementia Consortium, a private-charity partnership between Alzheimer’s Research UK and several drug and research companies (including Charles River), was established to change this narrative. The Consortium, as its name suggests, is committed to collaboration as the most valuable tool in CNS research.

“Just by the mere nature of working in an academic institution, you may get more time to focus on specific disease mechanisms that a pharmaceutical company just doesn’t have the time [for],” says Sarah Almond, Associate Director of Integrated Biology at Charles River’s Saffron Walden site. “But [a pharmaceutical company] may have a much broader range of complex models that can actually help advance this.”

In this podcast, Sarah walks me through the structure and purpose of the Consortium and explains her own personal interest in finding treatments for dementia. As she explains it, dementia and other CNS diseases are simply too complex to expect one brilliant researcher to find a cure. It will take a concerted effort from everyone, from charities to academia to industry, to finally reach that goal.

This podcast was recorded in March at Sarah’s site in the UK. The day after my flight back to the States, the travel ban was instituted to attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. The day I came home, and every day since, I have thought about the effect that this pandemic will have on the world in general, and drug discovery in particular.

I believe the Dementia Consortium has it right: the only way out is through collaboration.