This summer has been filled with positive advancements towards increased federal Alzheimer’s research funding in the House and the Senate for FY17. And, in August, Alzheimer’s champions received another reason to celebrate when the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommended a $414 million increase in spending on Alzheimer’s disease research above NIH’s base appropriation for Fiscal Year 2018. Were this provided next year on top of what Congress is on track to provide this year, that increase would bring overall Alzheimer’s research at NIH to $1.8 billion per year, quadruple what it was just a few years ago.
This recommendation came during the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) Advisory Council meeting when the second-ever professional judgment budget for Alzheimer’s research was released. To date, only two other diseases have received NIH professional judgment budgets: cancer and HIV/AIDS. This recommendation continues to lay the groundwork for the next step toward meeting the lead goal in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.
NIH laid out the research milestones it expects to meet if Congress provides the increase called for in this professional judgment budget, also called a bypass budget. These milestones include new insight into the disease mechanisms, identifying pharmacological and non-pharmacological ways to treat Alzheimer’s, creating more effective methods of research, and performing trials to enhance caregiving and support for caregivers, among many other areas of research. With steady, appropriate funding increases, the future is promising for Alzheimer’s research.
In issuing the FY2018 Alzheimer’s research bypass budget, NIH noted that Alzheimer’s disease represents a huge financial burden on taxpayers both nationally and individually. The Alzheimer’s Association 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report showed that Alzheimer’s and other dementia related care costs are expected to rise from $236 billion in 2016 to over $1 trillion in 2050 (in 2016 dollars).
The NIH decision and recent actions in Congress are the latest signs that the work of the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, and our relentless advocates are being heard in Washington. Working together we will create a world without Alzheimer’s.