The former head of the World Dementia Council says he is “optimistic” that a cure for dementia may be found in five years.
Dennis Gillings, a biostatistician and the outgoing chairman of the Council, said “great strides” had been made in scientific understanding of dementia and the gaps in research, according to Britain’s The Daily Telegraph.
“The original goal [of the council] was disease modification by 2025,” he said. “I feel a lot more optimistic now. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get there by 2020 or 2021.”
Gillings said progress was being made developing treatments that could remove the plaques in the brain that are a hallmark of the disease. “Currently the only medication available for diseases such as Alzheimer’s can mask symptoms but not delay the onset of disease,” The Daily Telegraph said.
Gillings founded the multibillion dollar Quintiles Transnational Holdings Inc., which conducts clinical drug trials. He stepped down from his position as executive chairman at the end of 2015, but remains on the board as a director, according to the company.
He advocates more funding for dementia drug research, the Daily Telegraph said.
The World Dementia Council, launched in Britain in 2013, re-formed last month as a global organization to bring together influential world leaders with expertise and experience in dementia.
Paul Duncan was formerly Editorial Director of Next Avenue. He has been a writer, editor and consultant for newspapers and news media in the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, and has a background in entrepreneurship and international business development.