Colombian Embassy and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Partner to Find a Cure for the Disease


May 9, 2018

Host Panel Discussion on Advances in Alzheimer’s Research Made Possible by U.S.-Colombia Collaboration 

Washington, DC — Tonight, the Embassy of Colombia and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s will join forces to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s, with the goal to further advance U.S-Colombia research aimed at finding a cure. This global disease impacts the lives of 50 million people worldwide. 

“This disease knows no borders, languages or cultures, and we all have known or heard the story of someone and his or her family struggling with Alzheimer’s,” said Colombian Ambassador to the United States Camilo Reyes, who will host the event at his Residence this evening. “Collaboration to foster research to find a cure for this disease should be a worldwide priority, and tonight we will gather to learn firsthand how Colombia and the United States are working together to tackle this global health challenge.” 

The event will feature a panel discussion, moderated by WAMU-FM’s Diane Rehm, with the following participants: Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Dr. Richard Hodes, Director of the National Institute on Aging at NIH; Dr. Pierre Tariot, Director of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute; Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO); and Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI).

In November 2016, CBS News’s “60 Minutes” put a spotlight on the groundbreaking U.S.-Colombia collaboration on Alzheimer’s research taking place in the Antioquia region of Colombia in a segment titled, “The Alzheimer’s Laboratory.” The piece, led by correspondent Lesley Stahl, which can be viewed here, featured Yarumal, Colombia, which has the world's largest population of people with Alzheimer’s disease, and research being conducted to determine why. The research is made possible by governmental cooperation through the National Institutes of Health and the rigorous academic support involving the teams of Dr. Tariot and Dr. Francisco Lopera, Clinical and Behavioral Neurologist and Coordinator of the Neuroscience Group at the University of Antioquia. 

“Alzheimer’s is a global disease in need of a global response. New research, like the clinical trial in Yarumal, Colombia, that helps us to understand the origins of a genetic mutation across generations is critical for our efforts to cure this disease,” said George Vradenburg, Chairman of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is proud to stand with the families of Yarumal, the people of Colombia and the 50 million families around the world experiencing this disease. It is joint efforts like this one that will allow us to beat this disease more quickly.”

“The work being done to find a cure for Alzheimer’s is remarkable, and it is my personal and professional honor to host this event in which Colombia’s transformation into a hub for innovative medical research can be witnessed. Today in the region of Antioquia and the city of Medellín there is hope, science and collaboration. This is welcome news, as for a number of years this region was at the center of Colombia’s internal conflict and received much attention for it. Now the region is receiving attention for its contribution to a global challenge,” Ambassador Reyes concluded.