How it all began
The original concept for the Institute came from Professor Allan Dixon working with the geriatricians at St Martin’s hospital in Bath. At the time there had been problems with the drug Opren, which appeared to be especially dangerous for older patients even though it had passed the Clinical Trial process. This prompted the idea that an Institute should be formed to look into all aspects of ageing, including how drug treatments could be used more safely in older people.
The Research Institute for the Care of the Elderly came into being in 1985 and Professor Roy Jones was appointed as Director. Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent opened the Institute in 1986 and in 1989 became its patron.
RICE opened one of the first Memory Clinics in the UK in 1987 – today there are over 100. The Institute has been involved with research into treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, most significantly the current treatments prescribed for the condition - donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), gelantamine (Reminyl) and memantine (Ebixa)
Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent at the opening if the Institute in 1986, attended by Director, Doctor Roy Jones.
The Relocation Campaign started in 2002 and aimed to raise £2 million for a new Institute at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. In 2007 building work started and The RICE Centre was officially opened on 5th December 2008 by Sir Terry Pratchett. Sir Terry, who once worked at the Bath Chronicle, had announced at the end of 2007 that he had a rare form of Alzheimer's disease.
The new centre has the space to enable RICE to open up its research programme and to undertake further studies as well as improving support for people with dementia in the Bath area, and their families.
We have a team headed up by Professor Jones with Dr Jill Mann as Senior Clinical Research Fellow and Dr Julia Gifford as Research Fellow. The team is complemented by research nurses and psychologists and supported by the admin staff and fundraising office.
Our work involves research into diagnosis and treatments for dementia, both therapeutic and non-drug treatments. We continue to run Memory Clinics at RICE and have more recently started to run self-referral Community Memory Screening Clinics. Along with new therapy groups we support and educate the carers and families of people with dementia. Our goal is to raise awareness within society that dementia can be treated and to help improve knowledge of the ageing process.
We receive less than 30% funding from the NHS and therefore need to seek income in other ways; we do this through fund-raising, both locally and nationally, and undertaking trials on behalf of pharmaceutical companies.