Released today, the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget includes several important increases for medical research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will receive an additional $1 billion, incuding $68 million for the National Institute on Aging. These represent roughly a 1.1% and a 3.3% increase in NIH and NIA’s respective budgets.
Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is pleased to see a continued commitment to Alzheimer’s disease research funding. As in years past, the budget specifically mentions Alzheimer’s disease as needing additional research funding. It is encouraging that the National Institute on Aging, which funds the majority of Alzheimer’s disease research at the NIH, is increasing at a rate faster than NIH as a whole. There also are increases at other institutes that are doing important work in Alzheimer’s research, such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
The President’s Precision Medicine Initiative also promises a long-term benefit to medical research. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has strongly advocated that genetics are the key to understanding and then treating diseases. We will continue to work with the Administration to offer expertise and experience in unlocking genetic mysteries to help expand the Precision Medicine Initiative to other diseases and conditions.
Despite these promising inclusions, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is becoming increasingly alarmed at the gap between funding for Alzheimer’s disease research called for in the budget and by the government’s own Advisory Council of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act. The Advisory Council has called for a minimum of $2 billion a year as necessary for Alzheimer’s disease research. Even with the proposed increase for Fiscal Year 2016, more than 3 times the current funding will be needed to meet this goal.
Ongoing constraints and the need to allocate funding to numerous government initiatives always make budgeting a challenge, and we are grateful for any increase for Alzheimer’s disease research. However, increased funding is critical if we are to meet the 2025 goal of preventing or effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease.
The release of the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget is the first step in this process and Cure Alzheimer’s Fund will continue to work with the Administration and Congress to advocate for increased funding for Alzheimer’s disease research to stop this disease.