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Advancing Dementia Care: Exploring Future Technologies for Patients 

Dementia Diagnosis Breakthrough: Blood Tests Transforming Care

Insights from the NHS Innovation and Life Sciences Commission’s Dementia Programme first inquiry session. 

The NHS Innovation and Life Sciences Commission recently held its first inquiry session on diagnostics and future technologies for dementia patients. This session brought together leaders in the NHS third sector and life sciences industry to discuss the current state and future vision of dementia diagnostics, treatments, and technologies. In this article, we will highlight key areas of consensus discussed by the panel, the challenges faced, and the recommended strategies for advancing dementia care. 

Session One: Diagnostics and Diagnosis 

The first half of the inquiry session focused on current and future developments in diagnostics and improving early diagnoses for dementia patients. The panel consisted of experts in the field, including National Speciality Lead of Dementia at NIHR, Professor John O’Brien, Chief Scientific Officer at Genomics England, Professor Matt Brown, Co-Chair of the UK Dementia Mission, Professor Nadeem Sarwar, and Global External Engagement and Scientific Collaboration Lead at Roche, Dr Sasha Bozeat. 

Future Vision and Ambition

The panellists shared their visions for dementia diagnostics, treatments, and technologies in the next decade. Dr Bozeat emphasised the importance of timely diagnosis, personalised to the individual’s readiness and circumstances. She proposed a streamlined diagnostic process and a shift towards identifying the underlying cause of symptoms rather than using the stigmatising term “dementia.” Professor Sarwar envisioned targeting mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases, similar to cancer treatment. Professor Brown highlighted the potential of genomics in early detection and prediction of various forms of dementia. Professor O’Brien stressed the need for expanding prevention strategies and improving the quality of life for patients and caregivers. 

Advancements in Dementia Diagnostics

The panellists discussed the advancements that researchers and innovators should prioritise. Professor O’Brien highlighted the importance of studying biomarker performance in real-world scenarios, particularly blood-based biomarkers. Professor Brown emphasised the significance of genetics as a biomarker for early detection and prediction of Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Sarwar suggested an accelerated diagnostics funnel that includes genomics, blood-based measurements, and digital technologies. Dr Bozeat emphasised the potential of wearables and passive monitoring, along with blood-based biomarkers, to guide individuals in seeking healthcare advice. 

Strategies and Collaboration for Future Technologies

The panellists discussed the strategies and collaborations needed to achieve the vision of early diagnosis and personalised treatments for dementia. Professor Sarwar emphasised the importance of multisector partnerships, building trust, and transparently articulating data usage. Dr Bozeat highlighted the need for validating existing and novel technologies, developing clear guidelines, and supporting guideline developers. Professor O’Brien stressed the importance of international collaboration, changing terminology, and developing guidelines specifically for Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Brown proposed a collaboration focused on combining omics and genomic markers at a community level. 

Final Thought

the first inquiry session of the NHS Innovation and Life Sciences Commission‘s Dementia Programme shed light on the exciting prospects and challenges in advancing dementia care through future technologies. The vision shared by the panellists outlined a future where dementia diagnostics, treatments, and technologies are more personalised, timely, and efficient, ultimately improving the quality of life for patients and caregivers alike. 

The discussion on diagnostics and diagnosis underscored the importance of early detection and the shift towards identifying underlying causes, moving beyond the stigmatising term “dementia.” By exploring biomarkers, genetics, and digital technologies, the panellists expressed hope for breakthroughs that could revolutionise the way we diagnose and predict various forms of dementia. 

To achieve this future vision, strategic collaborations and partnerships will be vital. Multisector collaborations, transparency in data usage, and international cooperation were all highlighted as essential elements in the journey towards improved dementia care. Additionally, the validation of existing and novel technologies, the development of clear guidelines, and the support of guideline developers will be necessary to ensure the successful implementation of these advancements. 

While challenges undoubtedly lie ahead, the insights from this inquiry session have set the stage for a promising future in dementia care. By harnessing the potential of cutting-edge technologies and fostering collaborative efforts across disciplines, we are one step closer to a world where dementia is detected early, treated more effectively, and patients and their families experience improved wellbeing and support. As we continue to explore future technologies and innovations, we must remain hopeful and determined to advance dementia care and make a positive impact on the lives of millions affected by this condition. 

About the Dementia Programme 

To find out more about the Dementia Commission and the future inquiry session, please contact team@curiauk.com or visit www.curiauk.com and read more through the NHS Innovation and Life Sciences Commission microsite. 

For the full video, watch here:

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