Cure Alzheimer’s Fund researcher, Dr. Rudy Tanzi, briefed Congress on the progress of the fast track effort to map genes for Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Rudy Tanzi presented to the Bipartisan, Bicameral Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease. “There are 16 million baby boomers predicted to contract this devastating disease. While significant progress has been made, the importance of finding a cure and understanding this disease is more critical then ever,” Dr. Tanzi explained on Capital Hill, March 27th.
Dr. Tanzi reported to the Task Force, “It’s no surprise that as baby boomers move into the age of highest risk, our nation will have more people growing older and more people living longer, and will result in a burgeoning public health crisis”. He continued, “With the innovative developments in technology, knowledge of the humane genome and the extensive data on AD-related genes, we are on the cusp of a rare ‘science moment,’ when intensive research could yield a real breakthrough for an Alzheimer’s cure.”
At the briefing Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), co-chair of the Task Force, praised Cure Alzheimer’s Fund for its support of groundbreaking Alzheimer’s genome research and its role in the public-private partnership to find a cure for this devastating disease.
Rep. Markey said, “Since 2003 the NIH budget has been cut by 13% in terms of purchasing power. This cut has threatened the scientific community’s ability to realize the investments made by previous generations of scientists and has slowed progress toward a cure for Alzheimer’s. Especially in the absence of adequate federal funding, foundations like Cure Alzheimer’s Fund are critical to continuing the pursuit for a cure.”
Dr. Tanzi and Rep. Markey also addressed the policy and privacy implications of genetic testing and the importance of safeguards against genetic discrimination such as the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). This law prevents employers and others from collecting genetic data on employees, and prevents insurers denying coverage or charging higher premiums based on a genetic disposition to a disease.
Also serving as chairs of the Task Force are Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ).
In concluding the briefing Dr. Tanzi summarized, “This is an auspicious time for accelerating Alzheimer’s disease research. The commitment of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and other private and public organizations has been critical to scientific progress, and their continued support will be of the utmost importance to win the battle against this devastating disease. Someday in the future, we hope to have a test for Alzheimer’s. People won’t wait for the disease; they’ll fight first,” said Dr. Tanzi. “But right now, we need to focus and make sure we have the funding from both the private and public sectors to get us there.”