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USAgainstAlzheimer's Urges the President to Prioritize Alzheimer's in the State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- USAgainstAlzheimer's, an entrepreneurial and disruptive organization demanding a solution to Alzheimer's, urges President Obama to prioritize funding for Alzheimer's disease research and related programs in his 2015 State of the Union Address.

"Now is the time to renew our investment in biomedical research, including Alzheimer's disease," said George Vradenburg, Co-founder and Chairman of USAgainstAlzheimer's. "History has proven that a commitment to research investment has resulted in improvements in multiple diseases and conditions. As the baby boom generation ages and the number of people with Alzheimer's skyrockets, we cannot afford to shortchange this disease. The United States must dramatically ramp up funding for the NIH and increase Alzheimer's research investment to $2 billion a year from the current level of about $585 million."

National Institutes of Health (NIH) investments have fallen over the last several years on an inflation-adjusted basis. Failure to 'catch up' and move dramatically beyond funding levels of ten years ago risks loss of U.S. leadership in biomedical research and in innovation in this most important sector of the global economy.

And recent research indicates that Alzheimer's disease claims more than 500,000 lives in America annually, as more than five million victims are slowly dying of the disease. The number of individuals with Alzheimer's is expected to almost triple, approaching 16 million, in the next few decades, and research shows that the direct care costs of Alzheimer's exceeds those of cancer and heart disease.
Total costs of Alzheimer's exceed $200 billion annually, and 70 percent of this cost is shouldered by Medicare and Medicaid. If substantial progress is not made in stopping Alzheimer's, Medicare and Medicaid spending will reach $1.1 trillion in today's dollars by 2050. Yet Alzheimer's receives dramatically less government research funding than other conditions.

The 2015 government spending package, known as the 'cromnibus,' included an increase of $25 million for the National Institute on Aging (NIA), with an expectation that much of the funding would support additional research into Alzheimer's and dementia. The increase follows a similar $100 million bump included for Fiscal Year 2014 and underscores the bipartisan support in Congress to address the mounting health and fiscal challenges of Alzheimer's and dementia during a challenging fiscal climate. But it is not nearly enough.

"The nation has set a goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer's by 2025," Vradenburg said. "This goal is bold and ambitious, and we are falling behind the timeline needed to achieve that goal because of the current business-as-usual approach. We urge the Obama Administration to commit to the resources and policies necessary to achieve the 2025 goal, especially providing necessary research funding to the NIH for Alzheimer's initiatives."

Founded in 2010, USAgainstAlzheimer's has worked across sectors to accomplish many milestone successes including: (1) Securing the national goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's by 2025 through the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease (NAPA) and helping secure more than $200 million in additional public funding for Alzheimer's research over the past few years; (2) Driving global efforts that resulted in the leaders of the world's most powerful nations, the G7 group, to embrace a similar 2025 goal and call for greater levels of investment and collaboration; (3) Forging collaborations to improve efficiencies for an expedited drug discovery and approval processes.

President Obama will deliver the State of the Union Address tomorrow, January 20, at 9:00pm ET.

USAgainstAlzheimer's is an entrepreneurial and disruptive organization demanding a solution to Alzheimer's by 2020. Driven by the suffering of millions of families, USAgainstAlzheimer's presses for greater urgency from government, industry and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer's cure – accomplishing this through effective leadership, collaborative advocacy, and strategic investments.

CONTACT: Ranit Schmelzer 202-538-1065 rschmelzer@usagainstalzheimers.org

Source: USAgainstAlzheimer's