Global Opinion Leaders from G20 Nations Urge Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Establish Aging, Lifelong Brain Health, and Dementia as Central Pillars of G20 Agenda
Taking proactive steps to maintain healthy aging and overall brain health can delay or even prevent cognitive decline. Global leaders call on Prime Minister Abe to prioritize Alzheimer’s and brain health globally at the upcoming G20 summit in Osaka.
Tokyo, Japan (March 21, 2019) – Today, leaders representing G20 nations convened at the second annual Alzheimer’s Scientific Roundtable to call on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to act decisively and make the global Alzheimer’s crisis a primary focus of this year’s G20 summit agenda. The global consortium of researchers, academics, government officials, and private-sector leaders was convened at the University of Tokyo by Eisai Co., Ltd., ResearchersAgainstAlzheimer’s (a network of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s), the Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease, the University of Tokyo, and the Health and Global Policy Institute.
“Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are the defining global public health crises of the 21st century. There are 50 million people suffering from this disease worldwide, and that number will balloon to 82 million by 2030 unless we act now,” said George Vradenburg, Chairman, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and convener of The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease. “The good news is, we know so much more about Alzheimer’s than we did just a year ago – and we are hopeful for the future. There is an emerging scientific consensus that we all can take proactive, preventative actions to improve brain health across the lifespan. Given this knowledge, we must renew and redouble our efforts to combat this disease,” said Vradenburg.
“An estimated 5 million people a year are currently dying from causes related to Alzheimer’s and dementia, and the majority of those deaths are in G20 countries outside the G7. The need for urgency and global collaboration is great. The time is now for the G20 to embrace the goal of stopping the disease by 2025,” finished Vradenburg.
“The latest science demonstrates that Alzheimer’s is no longer thought to be an inevitability of old age. Over the course of a lifetime, a person’s overall health has a marked impact on their brain health. Preventative measures taken at every stage of one’s life will benefit their brain health later in life, delay cognitive decline, and minimize the risk of developing Alzheimer’s,” said Takeshi Iwatsubo, Professor of Neuropathology at the University of Tokyo. “It is more important than ever to expand the global conversation around Alzheimer’s to include brain health. Prime Minister Abe, as this year’s global G20 host, is in the perfect position to accomplish this.”
Roundtable organizers also stressed the need for a global infrastructure to link clinical trial sites. “Working in silos will not bring us closer to curing this disease by 2025. We need an international network of clinical trial sites that can create partnerships and build global support networks for clinical research,” said Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Chairman of the Health and Global Policy Institute. “At a time when researchers are beginning to understand the underlying pathophysiology of the disease, inter-disciplinary collaboration is more critical than ever. Given this, Prime Minister Abe must recognize his opportunity to lead on this issue at the global level – not just at the G20 in 2019, but for years to come.”
The drug development pipeline for Alzheimer’s is robust, with more than 100 promising therapies in development. However, more investment and innovation are needed to move drugs through clinical trials, particularly from phase 2 into phase 3, and bring new medicines more rapidly to market. Participants at the conference agree that to expedite drug development efforts, we also must work concurrently to increase development in Alzheimer’s biomarkers, which will improve rates of timely and accurate detection and diagnosis globally and speed adoption of innovative treatments.
“I have no doubt we will find a cure for Alzheimer’s, but developing pharmacological treatments has been more complex than predicted,” said Ivan Cheung, President, Neurology Business Group at Eisai Co., Ltd. “Biomarkers are an important way we can spur the drug development pipeline and increase clinical trial participation. At the G20 summit this year, Prime Minister Abe should underscore the importance biomarkers and innovative trial design will play in future clinical trials.”
Addressing the global Alzheimer’s crisis at the G20 is a crucial next step to build on the increasingly coordinated global effort to combat Alzheimer’s disease over the past decade.
“We look forward to continuing our work with the G20 and G7 health ministers, the U.S. government, and Japanese officials as we strive to find solutions to this global public health crisis,” added Vradenburg. “UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and our partners collectively represent tens of millions of people impacted by this horrific disease. We will continue to insist that global leaders prioritize Alzheimer’s and brain health at this year’s G20 summit in Osaka and beyond.”