Preparing the Netherlands for rising dementia patients

Hospitals, organisations and charities and insurers have joined forces for Aboard, a public-private project to improve early diagnosis and personalised treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

The nationwide group of more than 30 partners aims to prepare the Netherlands for a future in which more people may be affected by Alzheimer’s disease. It’s the first research project launched as part of the National Dementia Strategy 2021-2030 by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and has received €8.8 million.

In the Netherlands, about 300,000 people suffer from dementia, largely caused by Alzheimer’s disease, and that’s estimated to rise to 500,000 in 20 years. Aboard will focus on prevention of the disease, such as developing tests that recognise the first changes in the brain to quickly diagnose Alzheimer’s, and to spot differences between patients to develop personalised courses of treatment.

Partners include Amsterdam UMC, Philips, Castor and Amsterdam startup Neurocast

Professor Wiesje Van der Flier, project leader and scientific director of the Amsterdam Alzheimer Centre, said the initiative recognised the potential for impact outside the Netherlands. “International observers think Aboard is a very special project. Every partner I approached wanted to participate. Such a broad collaboration is ideally possible in a small country like the Netherlands, but at the same time it has an enormous international image,” she said.

World-leading expertise

Amsterdam has long been a world-leading centre of expertise on Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer Centre Amsterdam is one of the world’s most respected healthcare and research institutions focused on dementia. Earlier this year the centre’s founder Dr Philip Scheltens joined life sciences investor LSP to lead a world-first fund to develop breakthrough ideas in the dementia field, focusing on drugs and MedTech.

The Dutch capital also prides itself on its abundance of public-private partnerships that contribute to its dense and innovative life science and health ecosystem.

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