Researchers Launch World-Class Dementia Clinical Trials' Infrastructure

Iracema Leroi, Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) faculty and Associate Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry at Trinity College, has been announced as one of six recipients of the Health Research Board (HRB)’s Clinical Research Network Awards.

The fund will allow Leroi and a team of researchers at Trinity College, including GBHI faculty, Sean Kennelly project co-lead from Tallaght University Hospital, Brian LawlorMary McCarronRichard Reilly and Sven Vanneste to launch Dementia Trials Ireland (DTI). DTI will be a world-class clinical trials’ infrastructure to support and grow dementia intervention studies for the >150,000 people with/at risk of dementia in Ireland.

There are currently 64,000 people with dementia in Ireland, with this number predicted to double by 2046.

Currently, < 0.5% of people with dementia participate in research in Ireland, despite the need for evidence to address the rapidly increasing impact of dementia on our aging society.

By significantly increasing Ireland’s capacity and capability to deliver dementia-related trials’, and by increasing the number of people participating in trials, DTI aims to prevent/slow progression to dementia for those at risk, and to improve quality of life for people with dementia.

Dementia Trials Ireland (DTI) will:

  • Co-develop, grow & support a world-class dementia trials infrastructure
  • Treble Ireland’s capacity to conduct dementia trials
  • Support the delivery of Ireland’s strategic policies for dementia

DTI will involve a panel of research users at its core, working alongside 39 people which will include clinicians, clinical academics, basic neuroscientists, neural engineers, connected health specialists, methodologists and administrators.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are a type of research in which different types of treatments (medication or non-medication related) are tested to see whether they are helpful and do no harm. By participating in trials, people with a health condition, such as dementia, can access treatments that may not otherwise be available. Participation also allow them to contribute towards the wider goal of helping to find the best way to manage or slow down dementia. Many people find this very empowering.

Clinical trials for other types of health conditions (such as cancer) are much more available than for people with dementia, which is one of the reasons why our ability to manage/slow down dementia is lacking. We need to change this. Ireland is aging and the number of people at risk of dementia or living with dementia is rapidly increasing. Thus, researchers urgently need to find the right treatments. Clinical trials will help them do that.

doctor and older patient

Commenting on the award Professor Leroi said: "We are thrilled to be able to launch Dementia Trials Ireland with the support of the HRB. The treatment of dementia and support for people living with the condition is a national priority. Dementia Trials Ireland will help us to address this on a national scale and bring cutting edge treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia to Ireland. 

It is every person’s right to access clinical research. Dementia Trials Ireland will increase the opportunities for people across Ireland to access research, bringing new opportunities for treatment to Ireland.  We intend to address brain health challenges all the way from the pre-dementia stage for people ‘at risk’ of dementia to people living with advanced dementia in nursing homes"

Full details of the Dementia Trials Ireland team:

GBHI Faculty

Professor Iracema Leroi – Lead Applicant 

Professor Sean Kennelly – Co Lead Applicant

Professor Brian Lawlor – Co-Applicant

Professor Mary McCarron – Co-Applicant

Professor Richard Reilly – Co-Applicant

Professor Sven Vanneste – Co-Applicant


Professor Ronan Killeen – Co-Applicant

Dr Justin Kinsella – Co-Applicant

Professor Tim Lynch – Co-Applicant

Professor Geraldine McCarthy – Co-Applicant

Dr Rónán O’Caoimh – Co-Applicant

Dr Carol Rogan – Co-Applicant

Dr Suzanne Timmons – Co-Applicant

Professor Cathal Walsh – Co-Applicant

Host Institution: Trinity College Dublin