Increased Funding For Alzheimer's Research Clears Important Senate Hurdle

Ranit Schmelzer; (202) 538-1065; rschmelzer@usagainstalzheimers.org

Washington, DC – A key Senate committee included $100 million in additional funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acting just days before today’s briefing on new mortality data that suggests more than a half-million U.S. deaths every year are attributable to Alzheimer’s disease, making it the third leading cause of death.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies included in its Fiscal Year 2015 bill a $100 million increase in funding for the National Institute on Aging (NIA), funding that would support research into Alzheimer’s.  The move follows a similar increase in FY 14, also championed by the Senate committee. 

“In order to confront head-on the cancer-size problem that is Alzheimer’s, the United States must ramp up funding for Alzheimer’s research to $2 billion a year from the current level of about $560 million,” said George Vradenburg, Chairman of USAgainstAlzheimer’s and Convener of the Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease.  “This additional $100 million is another important step forward that demonstrates the deep commitment of many Senators to achieving our national goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s by 2025, one that is all the more impressive given the funding limitations the panel faces.” 

USAgainstAlzheimer’s has championed the push for meaningful increases in funding for Alzheimer’s research, engaging Congress and the Administration aggressively on this issue. Earlier this year, USAgainstAlzheimer’s coauthored a letter of numerous Alzheimer’s organizations urging an increase from FY 14 levels.  USAgainstAlzheimer’s also worked with the Senate Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease to secure letters from more than one-quarter of the Senate to appropriators urging the committee to continue making Alzheimer’s a priority.

“We are particularly grateful to the many Senate champions of increased funding, particularly Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, Labor, HHS Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin and Ranking Member Jerry Moran, and Senators Susan Collins, Mark Warner and Ed Markey who lead the Senate Alzheimer’s Task Force,” Vradenburg said.  “We welcome the opportunity to work with Congress to ensure this increased funding level becomes law.”

In addition to the increased funding for the NIA, the bill includes $100 million for the multi-year BRAIN Initiative seeking to better understand the human brain as well as more than $20 million to support Alzheimer’s caregiver support, patient care and public health programs.

The $321.3 million for Alzheimer’s disease initiatives in the Labor/HHS bill breaks down follows:

·      $200 million for the National Institute on Aging for Alzheimer’s research. 

·      $100 million for the National Institutes of Health’s BRAIN Initiative.

·      $14.3 million to expand home and community based caregiver services.

·      $4.2 million for outreach activities to raise awareness.

·      $3.3 million for CDC’s Healthy Brain Initiative

Recently published data on the mortality of Alzheimer’s indicates that more than 500,000 deaths every year are attributable to the disease, which would make it the nation’s third leading cause of death.  This report, by a team of researchers at Rush University, is the featured subject of today’s briefing.  Alzheimer’s is also the only disease in the top 10 that currently has no cure, disease-modifying treatment, or means of prevention.  

Today’s briefing on promising research in Alzheimer’s disease will take place from 11:30am --1:00pm (lunch is provided) in the Senate Visitors Center, room 201.

Speakers include:

·      George Vradenburg, Founder, USAgainstAlzheimer’s

·      Dr. David Bennett, Rush University, principal author of the mortality report

·      Tim Armour, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund

·      Stacy Pagos Haller, BrightFocus Foundation

·      Ian Kremer, Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease (LEAD Coalition)

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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. For more information, visit www.usagainstalzheimers.org.

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