Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced today that the Obama administration would increase funding for Alzheimer’s disease research by $130 million. An extra $50 million will be made available immediately, and another $80 million will be added to the fiscal year 2013 federal budget to be released next week. In total, this funding represents a 25% increase in funding for Alzheimer’s disease research over the next two years. An additional $25 million will be allocated for caregiver support, provider education, public awareness, and improvements in data infrastructure. “We can’t wait to confront the growing threat that Alzheimer’s disease poses to American families and to our nation as a whole,” noted Sebelius. Increased funding comes on the heels of the recent announcement that first goal of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act is
to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025
Nationwide, 5.4 million people have AD and rely on 14.9 million close family members and friends for care. In California, AD currently affects nearly 500,000 people, a number that is expected to escalate to 1.1 million by 2030. With an average of three caregivers supporting each of these 1.1 million people, the number of Californians coping with AD will total an estimated 4.4 million in 2030. Absent a cure, or at least treatments that could delay disease onset and/or slow progression, AD will create an untenable health care burden. Dr. Frank LaFerla, Director of UCI MIND, noted, “I commend President Obama and his administration for making Alzheimer’s disease a national priority. This funding represents an important first step, but much more will be needed if we are to conquer this devastating disease. Today, funding for Alzheimer’s disease remains at half that dedicated to AIDS although nearly five times as many people are affected.”
To meet the urgent need for effective treatments, UCI MIND is engaged in interdisciplinary translational research directed at uncovering the basic mechanisms of brain aging, characterizing the transition from normal aging to AD, and identifying strategies to maintain brain health. Led by Professor Frank LaFerla, UCI MIND is one of 15 prestigious Alzheimer’s Disease Centers, one of the 10 California Alzheimer’s Disease Centers, and a leading national site for clinical trials.