Focus on the Funding

The facts are staggering… every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. It is the most expensive disease in America, with the total direct cost of treatment approaching $300 billion annually – greater than for cancer or heart disease. It is the only leading cause of death in the US that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. Yet funding to fuel the research and trials needed to put an end to this disease remains lacking.   

We’ve only just begun: doing your part.

While Congress provided an additional $425 million in Alzheimer’s research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for fiscal year 2019, it’s still not enough.

Congress must continue its commitment to support these efforts by increasing funding for research by an additional $350 million in fiscal year 2020.

And this is where you come in! Make your voice heard by asking your Representatives to support this critical research funding.

Another powerful way to get involved is by participating in clinical trials.

According to Mark Roithmayr, CEO of Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, clinical trials are revealing powerful insights that are proving to slow the progression of the disease. He predicts new medicine could be available in the next three years. “This is the beginning of hope,” he told PEOPLE magazine in March, 2019.

Clinical research centers in GAP-Net offer different clinical research opportunities for people at-risk for dementia or those with memory concerns, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies range from routine observations to those that evaluate new therapeutic treatments. Explore current opportunities available where you live.

Additional resources are being invested through state grants and appropriations to advance the field through the development and implementation of state Alzheimer’s plans. Nearly every state has its own State Government Alzheimer’s Disease Plan. Explore copies of the state plans as well as state-by-state comparisons of the recommendations.

Funding hope: research in action.

We do know that funding research is critical, and that includes traditional and non-traditional funding of traditional and non-traditional research.  For clinical trials, it can mean funding additional staff and materials, or providing support for novel strategies, including recruitment and record review.  Dr. Josh Grill, of UC Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) shares, “GAP has paid particular attention to accelerating clinical trials of promising therapies. This is important and exciting because the most consistent barrier to medical advances is slow or inadequate recruitment of participants to these pivotal studies. With support from GAP-Net, we have been examining novel ways to enhance clinical trial recruitment, by utilizing electronic health records and a local recruitment registry”. He continues, “Increasing awareness, we know, is just the start. So we’re also working on mechanisms to increase trust and give people what they need to hopefully decide to partner with us by participating in in studies. “

More exciting research is coming out of Rhode Island via Dr. Brian R. Ott, head of Rhode Island Hospital’s Alzheimer’s Disease & Memory Disorders Center.  “I feel like we’re on the threshold now of getting that disease-modifying treatment or treatments,” Ott said. “So I’m optimistic again. It’s the work that goes on between the individual researchers who make connections that moves things ahead.”

What can you do?

Most U.S. states have developed plans that detail how they will bear the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on their communities and help those living with the disease manage the increasing challenges.  Find your state plan here and see how you can get involved.  You can consider advocating for increased funding or acting as a volunteer for research or providing support. 

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