UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Calls for $289M Hike in Federal Funds for Research

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by Mary Chapman |

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To meet a U.S. goal to effectively treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, patient, caregiver, and advocacy communities are recommending a $289 million hike in federal research dollars for fiscal year 2022.

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is supporting that recommendation — and calling for greater urgency in meeting national Alzheimer’s community goals set nearly a decade ago.

The new funding would go to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for investigations into prospective therapies to prevent and treat the neurological disorder, which currently affects some 5.5 million people in the U.S. alone. Developing effective therapies was a national priority established 10 years ago, but progress in achieving it has fallen behind where it should be by now, according to the national organization.

“This goal, set 10 years ago, has spurred these critical investments in research and led to iALZ, and led to interagency collaboration which have changed the trajectory of Alzheimer’s science and brought the movement to a new precipice of hope and opportunity,” UsAgainstAlzheimer’s states in a press release.

“However, at the current pace, this effort will fall far short of the finish line in 2025,” the group said. “The White House and Congress must dedicate more energy, urgency, and focus to stopping Alzheimer’s.”

In addition to more funding, the organization is seeking bipartisan support for recommendations made last year by a federal Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services. That council was established as part of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act to advise Congress and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on ways to expedite efforts to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s, as well as to enhance care and support for patients and caregivers.

Each year, non-federal council members develop recommendations that inform the annual update to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, in addition to federal legislation and appropriations. Last year, the advisory council came up with recommendations to address top-priority issues currently facing U.S. residents: emergency preparedness, dementia risk reduction, and health equity for Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

“Stopping Alzheimer’s requires a strong and sustained national effort, and increased spending is only a part of what’s needed to end Alzheimer’s,” the organization further stated. “Funding should be targeted to areas of high unmet need, including addressing the disproportionate impact of Alzheimer’s on people of color and by developing research infrastructure in underserved communities.”

Last month, the Alzheimer’s Association lauded recent actions that will fund and advance multiple Alzheimer’s policies. These advancements were part of the $1.4 trillion government funding bill for the 2021 fiscal year that was passed by Congress on Dec. 21, 2020 and signed into law. The appropriations package includes a $300 million increase in Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding at the NIH.

A decade ago, when the National Alzheimer’s Project Act became law, the federal government’s investment in disease research totaled $448 million annually. With this year’s spending bill, research support at the NIH will reach $3.1 billion.

“Alzheimer’s and related dementias take a devastating toll on a rapidly growing number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and caregivers, and the already resource-constrained health systems they will turn to,” the organization said. “The Obama-Biden Administration and Congress started the work of ending Alzheimer’s a decade ago. Now it’s time for the Biden-Harris Administration and the 117th Congress to step up and finish the job.”

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s describes itself as an innovative nonprofit organization that’s committed to bringing together advocacy groups and stopping the disease.