World Dementia Council Holds Inaugural Meeting; Commits To Mobilizing Worldwide Effort To Find Cure

CONTACT: Ranit Schmelzer, 202.538.1065, 

Washington, DC – The World Dementia Council, meeting for the first time in London, England on Wednesday, agreed to priorities for the upcoming year and to mobilizing a worldwide effort to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and dementia.  Supported by the UK Government, and an outgrowth of the 2013 G8 Dementia Summit, the World Dementia Council was created to champion innovation in dementia across diagnosis, treatment, and care and to unlock far greater amounts of investment.  The Council will support Dr. Dennis Gillings, the World Dementia Envoy.

Members of the Council, including George Vradenburg, Convener of The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) and Chairman and Co-Founder of USAgainstAlzheimer’s, agreed to several priorities the coming year, including:  pursing clinical trial reform; creating new financing mechanisms; encouraging global regulatory harmony; supporting the application of big data to Alzheimer’s disease research; establishing international norms for care delivery; improving the incentive systems to spur investment in Alzheimer’s; and improving the framework for public/private collaborations.

 “I’m honored to be part of to the World Dementia Council and will use my time to work with others who are demonstrating effective leadership and commitment toward achieving the goal of stopping Alzheimer’s by 2025,” said George Vradenburg.  “It is critical that we put together a strong nation-based infrastructure of key stakeholders in government, industry, science and civil society who have the power to execute on the goals and priorities of the Council.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron emphasized in a personal letter to Vradenburg the importance of industry involvement.  “Governments cannot do this alone.  As with other diseases, the bulk of investment will come from private sources. We have to make investments in dementia research a more active proposition, particularly given the level of risk involved for private investors in respect of our current level of knowledge.”

The Council is composed of eleven original members representing the G8 countries, as follows:

  • Dr. Dennis Gillings, Chairman, World Dementia Council and Founder, Quintiles
  • George Vradenburg, Convener of The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) and Chairman and Co-Founder of USAgainstAlzheimer’s
  • Andrea Ponti, Vice Chairman, Co-Head of Global Healthcare Investment Banking, JP Morgan Chase
  • Dr. Paul Stoffels, Global Chair, Johnson & Johnson

·      Yves Leterme, Deputy Secretary General, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

  • Professor Martin Knapp, Director, London School of Economics and Kings College London
  • Sir William Castell, Chairman, Wellcome Trust
  • Professor Dame Sally Davis, Director General, UK Department of Health
  • Dr. Yves Joanette, Scientific Director, Canadian Institute of Health Research, Institute of Aging
  • Professor Pierluigi Nicotera, Scientific Director and Chairman of the Executive Board, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Professor Ronald Peterson, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Mayo Alzheimer’s Research Center


Experts estimate that 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's and an estimated 44.4 million people worldwide are living with dementia.  The aging population is driving the problem to even more critical levels, with the World Health Organization estimating that Alzheimer’s and other dementia cases will nearly double every 20 years. 

In 2010, the annual global cost of dementia care was estimated at $604 billion – one percent of global GDP.  Every year, American taxpayers spend $203 billion on Medicare and Medicaid expenses related to Alzheimer’s.  If substantial progress is not made in stopping Alzheimer’s, Medicare and Medicaid spending will reach $1.1 trillion in today’s dollars by 2050.

Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 50 percent to 80 percent of dementia cases in people ages 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Dementia is an umbrella term that refers to a group of physical and mental symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with a person's daily functions.

 “CEOi believes that strong collaborations that cross borders and sectors are critical to successfully addressing Alzheimer’s disease.  Working together, we can improve drug development, drive forward patient-centric care, and support those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s,” said Vradenburg. 

In addition to convening CEOi, George Vradenburg serves on the Advisory Council on Research, Care, and Services established by the National Alzheimer's Project Act.  He has testified before Congress about the global Alzheimer’s pandemic and is a former member of the bipartisan Commission on Long-Term Care.

More information about the Council and Wednesday’s meeting is available here.


The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) is an organization of private-sector leaders who have joined together to provide business leadership in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The CEO Initiative seeks to partner with public leaders to transform the disease from a social, health, and economic crisis into an opportunity for healthy aging and innovation in research and care. The CEO Initiative believes that, during this era of aging populations, it will take visionary, coordinated, goal-oriented leadership of public and private leaders working together to solve our greatest challenges. Learn more at: