Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

A Positive Step Forward on Alzheimer’s

10.25.13 | By Dr. William "Bill" Chin, M.D.

Alzheimer’s has proven to be a stubborn, puzzling and perhaps even symbolic disease. In recent years, it has emerged as one of our greatest tests of biopharmaceutical science because of the disease’s vast and growing impact on the health of our aging population and the viability of our health care system.

While we must pursue all promising avenues of intervention, including behavioral and lifestyle factors, I believe it will be innovative medicines (or combinations thereof) that eventually will prevent, delay or treat this debilitating disease. And it will require remarkable perseverance, collaboration and ingenuity from partners across the ecosystem. 

But I am optimistic. Why? Because earlier this week I was reminded of the intellectual resources and passion we can collectively bring to bear against this disease.

On Wednesday, at a forum hosted by PhRMA in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, experts in the field discussed the path forward in addressing the puzzle of Alzheimer’s disease.

It was an engaging, dynamic and at times even touching display of constructive discussion amongst visionaries from industry, government (NIH and FDA), academia, the non-profit community and more (a full list of speakers can be found here). If you were unable to join us, I encourage you to view the archive of the event webcast.

PhRMA convened this forum to explore some of the “white spaces” in Alzheimer’s research – specifically opportunities to maximize pre-competitive public-private partnerships and challenges in the conduct of clinical trials, especially in pre-symptomatic individuals.

While I am not a neurologist, I submit that some really intriguing ideas emerged from the day, such as steps we can take to standardize clinical trial enrollment processes to enhance our ability to share the knowledge gained, the need for better global coordination of ongoing partnerships, and interesting prospects for developing biomarkers for enrolling pre-symptomatic Alzheimer’s patients. 

Our goal is for the discussions to serve as a catalyst for action. In the coming weeks we will be sharing perspectives of some of the participants in our Conversations forum, and soon thereafter we aim to publish a paper capturing key takeaways from the dialogue.

If you have a few minutes, join us belatedly by viewing the archive – and be sure to share your thoughts and comments here.


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