First Alzheimer's professional judgment budget reflects urgency in addressing this triple threat
Today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommended an increase of $323 million in its first professional judgment budget aimed at providing Congress with a scientific estimate of what research funding is needed and can be immediately well utilized to address Alzheimer's disease in fiscal year 2017. Under the Alzheimer's Accountability Act incorporated in the 2015 funding bill, a professional judgment budget for Alzheimer's research that identifies the funding necessary to achieve annual research milestones established under the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease will be submitted each year until 2025. It will reflect the state of Alzheimer's knowledge, and the effectively deployable investments in research identified by leading scientists as required to achieve the plan's first goal to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's by 2025.
"Congress has told us they want to hear directly from the nation's top scientists. Today, they have heard from those experts that Alzheimer's disease warrants swift and significant investment," said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association. "Congress has shown leadership on the issue of Alzheimer's research over the last few years. This scientific budget estimate will give both a more complete picture of the funding necessary in fiscal year 2017 to build on the recent research investments and to ensure we are on track to meet the goals of the National Plan. This objective research funding estimate is critical as Congress continues their work to reverse the historic underfunding of Alzheimer's disease of the past several decades."
Alzheimer's is only the third disease to receive a professional judgment budget, also known as a "by-pass budget," following cancer and HIV/AIDS. Recognizing the role that this mechanism played in the successful investments and resulting medical advances for these diseases, Alzheimer's Association grassroots advocates and staff held thousands of congressional meetings to secure support for the Alzheimer's Accountability Act. While the Alzheimer's Association and its sister organization, the Alzheimer's Impact Movement, were the only two organizations to endorse and work to advance the Alzheimer's Accountability Act, the legislation received strong, bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.
Last month, led by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved historic funding increases for Alzheimer's disease of $300 million and approximately $350 million, respectively, for fiscal year 2016. If enacted into law, this 50-60 percent increase would be the largest increase in Alzheimer's research funding to date.
"Under NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins' leadership, this professional judgment budget for fiscal year 2017 confirms what the science community has said: we must continue to increase funding for Alzheimer's disease research at significant intervals to reach the levels necessary to accomplish the first goal of the national Alzheimer's plan," said Johns.
Alzheimer's is already the most expensive disease in the nation, and the only leading cause of death among the top 10 in the U.S. without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. Because advancing age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and Americans are living longer than ever before, those numbers are projected to soar to as many as 16 million by 2050, costing the nation $20 trillion over the next 40 years.
Earlier this year, the Association released Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer's Disease: How a Treatment by 2025 Saves Lives and Dollars, which calculated that a treatment introduced in 2025 that delays the onset of Alzheimer's by five years would reduce the number of individuals affected by the disease by 2.5 million people and save the nation $220 billion within the first five years of a treatment being available.
For more information on Alzheimer's disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association at alz.org.
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org.