The Alzheimer's Association has asked for a redoubling of research efforts to find safe, new, effective drug therapies for Alzheimer's disease.
In testimony presented during a hearing of the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration, the Association's Public Policy Committee Co-Chair, Bill Keane, said that the best hope for solving the Alzheimer puzzle is to increase the national commitment to biomédical research, including study into effective, safe, and affordable treatments.
The scope of the Alzheimer's problem is staggering, Keane said, costing the nation more than $88 billion a year. It afflicts more than 1 0% of the population over age 65 and nearly 50% of those 85 and older. He stated that the problem will worsen as time passes, noting that according to some estimates, there could be as many as 14 million Americans suffering from Aizheimer's disease by the year 2040.
The Alzheimer's Association has cooperated with the National Institute on Aging and several private pharmaceutical companies in a number of drug trials in the hopes of finding treatments that will help those affected by Alzheimer's disease. It has also provided family members with information about current drugs being tested and referred families to research centers for participation in the drug trials.
According to Keane, the Association has two goals with regard to drug testing: to decrease the time required for gathering information necessary to assess drug safety and efficacy; and to make participation in clinical trials available to as many patients as possible without exposing them to unnecessary risks and without compromising the aims of the trial.
Keane warned that as the search for Alzheimer's disease treatments moves forward, it also is important to be sensitive to the intense vulnerability of the patients and families affected by the disease.
For more information, contact Susan Nowicki, Alzheimer's Association, 70 E. Lake Street, Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60601; 31 2-853-3060.