WASHINGTON, DC – Although Alzheimer’s is not a natural condition of aging, the vast majority of patients diagnosed with the disease are ages 65 and over. As the senior population in the United States more than doubles between now and 2050, to about 88.5 million, the number of Alzheimer’s patients will more than double as well unless new treatments to prevent, arrest or cure the disease are found.
“The amount of suffering that will accompany the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s for 13.5 million Americans is unacceptable, and the cost will be unsustainable,” said John Castellani, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). “In millions of American homes, Alzheimer’s disease already presents a crisis. The expected increase in Alzheimer’s patients portends not only more personal pain and grief, but a national crisis.”
Hope lies with new treatments. Today, America’s biopharmaceutical companies are researching 98 medicines VIDEO LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5r1fB3f1YM] for dementia, mostly Alzheimer’s, according to a report released today by PhRMA. All 98 are either in clinical trials or under review by the Food and Drug Administration.
Research into Alzheimer’s had long been hampered by the difficulty in accessing the brain. In the last few years, however, advances in imaging technologies, such as positron emission tomography (PET) scans, have greatly advanced researchers’ understanding of Alzheimer’s. Imaging’s ability to reflect changes related to Alzheimer’s disease has advanced significantly, particularly with longitudinal and cross sectional data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. The initiative created in 2004 is a years-long collaborative effort of biopharmaceutical research companies, non-profits, universities, the National Institutes of Health and the FDA.
In the Southeast, a handful of innovative companies and university researchers are working on Alzheimer’s treatments. See:
- New technology points to possible targets for Epilepsy and Alzheimer’s drugs
- New technology points to possible targets for Epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Drugs
- New Alzheimer’s treatment shows positive results
- NC among four states developing most new mental illness drugs
- Saneron, USF land $2.6M grant for Alzheimer’s treatment
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