Dementia must be beaten with a “big, bold global push”, David Cameron has told a summit in London.
An audience of 300 experts, who have pledged to find a cure by 2025, listened to the prime miniser.
He has demanded that the experts demonstrate drugs companies can be encouraged to develop new dementia medicines.
In his speech, the prime minister told experts that dementia is one of the “greatest enemies of humanity”.
He said: “It is important to see dementia as a disease and one that we need to better understand so that we can tackle it.
“We are renewing our commitment to say by 2025 we want to find a cure to dementia. We should treat this as a disease rather than as some natural part of ageing,” he said.
He said there was a need to develop more drugs and get them to patients more quickly. For that to happen, international collaboration and more money for dementia research was needed, he said.
He added: “Something like £50m a year is being spent on dementia research, rather than the £590m spent on cancer. It is important to see dementia as a disease and one that we need to better understand so that we can tackle it.”
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s You And Yours that more needs to be done to improve the lives of those with dementia.
“So much of this is about making sure hospitals and care homes treat people with dementia better and, absolutely crucially, that we build dementia-friendly communities where all of us try and understand better what it’s like to live with dementia,” he said.
Cancer v dementia research
UK government funded £52m of research into dementia in 2012/13
It has pledged to increase this to £66m by 2015
Around £600m is spent on cancer research each year
For every one dementia scientist in the UK, at least six work in cancer
Source: Alzheimer’s Research UK