ACCELERATING THE PATH TO BETTER TREATMENTS
The number of Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease is projected to increase from 5.4 million today to as many as 16 million by 2050. As the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s increases, so does the urgent need for better treatments.
Today’s Alzheimer’s treatments can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms, but they cannot stop the underlying disease, which destroys brain cells and leads to the loss of memory, cognitive abilities — and, ultimately, life.
Developing new treatments is a lengthy, expensive and uncertain process. Therapies to treat the central nervous system can take 15-20 years to develop, longer than any other class of drugs. In recent years, many Alzheimer’s drug candidates that were thought to be promising failed during clinical trials, highlighting the need to improve the drug development process by investing in research to understand the basic biology of the disease.
In spite of the challenges, Alzheimer’s research has come far, particularly in the last 10 years. New discoveries are fueling steady progress toward possible treatments to stop, slow and even prevent Alzheimer’s. Many experts believe a breakthrough is possible, but because new drugs take years to produce from concept to market, it is critical that Alzheimer’s research continues to accelerate. We can — and must — determine better ways of conducting clinical trials and evaluating investigational therapies. We need increased federal funding of research to ensure that fresh ideas continue to fill the pipeline.
With the continued cooperation of the medical and research communities, and a meaningful commitment from the government, we can make significant progress toward accessible, effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.