Minister for Industry and Investment Security Nusrat Ghani MP visited the White City Campus last week, hosted by Professor Mary Ryan, Vice Provost (Research and Enterprise). The visit was focused on the work of the two Imperial-hosted UK Dementia Research Institute centres—the UK DRI at Imperial and the UK DRI Care Research and Technology centres, which are based at the Sir Michael Uren Hub. The hub is the College’s multidisciplinary biomedical engineering research hub which brings together clinicians and scientists involved in the development of medical technologies to improve the treatment and diagnosis of diverse medical conditions.
The UKDRI centre aims to identify what goes wrong in the brain at the very earliest stages of dementia and to develop innovative treatments that can correct detrimental changes, which could greatly benefit people who are at increased risk of disease but have not yet developed symptoms – preventing or slowing down the onset of disease.
Ms Ghani was met by Professor Paul Matthews (Head of the Department of Brain Sciences at Imperial and Centre Director of the UKDRI at Imperial). Professor Matthews explained his work around leading an innovative research programme, combining brain imaging, genomics and other cutting-edge techniques to research inflammatory mechanisms in Alzheimer’s disease.
The Minister also met Professor David Sharp (UKDRI Centre Director), who explained the work of the UKDRI Care Research & Technology centre to the Minister. With close collaboration with Surrey, the centre brings together a diverse team of doctors, engineers and scientists who together can harness recent advances in artificial intelligence, engineering, robotics and sleep science to create new technologies that will deliver the highest quality dementia care in the home.
Ms Ghani saw first-hand the work of researchers who are investigating new ways to keep people independent in their homes, improve their general health and sleep, and reduce confusion and agitation. Their work is guided by people with dementia and their caregivers, focusing on issues that cause the most problems.
As part of their work, the team has developed a range of devices that allow them to track a person’s behaviour and health at home. They harness the power of artificial intelligence to understand an individual’s behaviour and predict when problems might arise – and also develop ways to quickly identify medical complications that may occur in the home.
The Minister’s visit came in advance of today’s announcement from the government, recommitting to the Dame Barbara Windsor Dementia Mission, as part of delivering on its manifesto commitment to double dementia research funding to £160m per year by 2024/25.
This article was first published on 28 November by Imperial College London.