The status of research in the United States to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease was the focus of discussion at a White House sponsored event on World Alzheimer’s Day, Tuesday, September 21, 2010.
Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Consortium Chair Dr. Rudolph Tanzi and Tim Armour, President of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, participated on a scientific panel at the White House event before a select audience of White House senior staff policymakers, leading scientists, advocates and others including Jeff Morby, Chairman and co-founder of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, and Melody Barnes, Director, White House Domestic Policy Council. The topics covered included the current status of biomarker identification for the disease, current thinking about prevention, the strength of the drug pipeline for Alzheimer’s and possible policy initiatives to accelerate progress toward a cure.
Panelists agreed that more funding from both the public and private sectors needs to be invested in finding a cure and better treatments; and more aggressive efforts at creating public-private partnerships to provide focus for research efforts is crucial.
The clear message to come from the meeting is that Alzheimer’s is having a devastating impact not only on the growing number of patients and their families but on the national budget as well. With the Federal government spending $172 Billion on care for Alzheimer’s patients through Medicare and Medicaid in 2010, and the National Institutes of Health able to invest only $470 million in basic research, the “cure” will be a long time in coming if there is not a rapid change in national priorities.
All agreed that we cannot afford to wait, and the development of effective therapies to prevent or stop Alzheimer’s has to be a national priority, backed by a clear strategy and resources to implement it.