Leading nations have pledged to find a cure or an effective treatment for dementia by 2025.
Meeting at the first G8 Dementia Summit in London, ministers and health officials said that the amount spent globally on research would “significantly increase” in the run up to the goal.
UK funding to scientists hunting for a cure will double to £132m by 2025, the government announced ahead of the summit.
Globally the number of dementia sufferers is expected to rise to 135m by 2050.
The Prime Minister said he wanted the meeting to go down in history as “the day that the global fight-back began”.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re in London or Los Angeles, in rural India or urban Japan – dementia steals lives, it wrecks families, it breaks hearts and that is why all of us here are so utterly determined to beat it,” David Cameron said. “In generations past, the world came together to take on the great killers. We stood against malaria, cancer, HIV and AIDS and we are just as resolute today.”
New investment means that governments could set “an ambition to identify a cure or a disease-modifying therapy for dementia by 2025”, officials said. A new “global envoy for dementia innovation” will be appointed to coordinate “an international action plan for research”.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said that the summit had helped bring dementia “out of the shadows” to “centre stage”.
“We must ensure G8 has a lasting legacy,” he said. “The governments have all committed to updating progress on research biannually, but every month counts for the millions of people living with dementia worldwide.”
Hilary Evans, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the new commitments meant the world could be “more optimistic than ever that we will meet if not exceed the G8's 2025 target”.