Following on the theme of Alzheimer’s disease, there is a great summary paper from last month on the facts and figures (1) of this disease. Much of this was used as the information brief at the Alzheimer’s Association Gala in Washington, DC. Some of the facts are quite surprising, e.g. it is estimated that 5.4 million Americans have AD. Every 69 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease. Total payments in 2011 for health care, long term care and hospital services for people age 65 years and older with AD and other dementias are estimated at $183 million.
Without wishing to get political, $183M is a huge sum of money for just one year of support for this chronic disease that is also now ranked as the 6th highest cause of death in the USA (2). Furthermore, as this second brief paper by Thies states, federal funding for cancer is about $6B annually, cardiovascular funding $4B, HIV $3B while Alzheimer’s disease is federally funded at $480M per year. Since the year 2000 to 2008, the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease has increased by 60% and the treatment and prevention of this debilitating condition is still a huge unmet medical need.
There are a number of therapies in development and BioClinica is involved in supporting the imaging component of many of these programs. With that said, the history of drug development in this field is littered with failures, in part because we still do not have a good handle on the etiology of conversion of those with mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) is starting to have data that will hopefully unlock many of the unknowns about this devastating disease. For those of us with a familial history of the disease and have seen it first hand, a cure cannot come too soon.
Have any questions about imaging therapies in development for Alzheimers’ disease? Please ask them in the comments below.
- Alzheimer’s Association Report
2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures
by Alzheimer’s Association
in Alzheimer’s & Dementia 7 (2011) 208-244
- Stopping a thief and killer: Alzheimer’s disease crisis demands greater commitment to research.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia 7 (2011) 175-176