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Washington D.C.– February 7, 2012 – The Alliance for Aging Research, today applauded the Obama Administration for reprogramming $50 million from the current budget to Alzheimer’s disease and pledging an additional $80 million for Alzheimer’s research in the next budget cycle. “This is an important bet against the looming tide of dementia threatening America’s aging Baby Boomers,” said Dan Perry, president and CEO of the not-for-profit Alliance and chair of the Accelerate Cure/Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease (ACT-AD) coalition. “Even a modest shift in budget priorities in the current funding environment shows that the case for stepped-up research against this disease is being heard by this President,” Perry added.
The Alliance and other health advocates have met with officials in the White House, the budget office and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in recent months urging a bold increase in basic research into Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases of aging.
At a press conference in Washington, DC, today Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other officials, including the Director of the NIH, acknowledged that Alzheimer’s has “quite quickly become one of our nation’s most critical health challenges.” Repeating a theme Secretary Sebelius and others said “we can’t wait to act” to reduce the burden of Alzheimer’s on patients and families.
In addition to targeting $50 million more for Alzheimer’s research in the current NIH budget, Secretary Sebelius announced that $80 million in additional Alzheimer’s funding will included in the President’s budget for FY 2013, and still another $26 million will be included for caregiver support, provider education and other goals of the National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan passed by Congress and signed by the President last year—adding up to a $130 million total commitment over two years.
Perry noted that a National Advisory Committee on Alzheimer’s established by the national plan already has identified its number one goal to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. “Setting this direction and backing it up with $130 million over the next two years is an outstanding start, especially during these times of extreme budget austerity,” he said.
The Alliance for Aging Research and other Alzheimer’s and advocacy groups for aging research have pressed their case in recent months for increased funding during direct negotiations with the Obama Administration. To show broad support among researchers, the organizations gathered more than 530 signatures to support a budget increase for the National Institute on Aging within the NIH. The NIA will receive “a substantial portion” of new Alzheimer’s funding this year and next, according to Perry.