Stepping Stones toward making Alzheimer's a distant memory

Stepping Stones toward making Alzheimer's a distant memory

09.13.12 | By Preet Bilinski

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States today, with more than 5 million people currently affected. By 2050, the number of Americans with the disease is projected to reach 13.5 million at a cost of over $1.1 trillion unless new treatments to prevent, arrest or cure the disease are found. According to the Alzheimer's Association a new medicine that delays the onset of the disease could change that trajectory and save $447 billion a year by 2050. However, Alzheimer's is one of the most complex diseases researchers have ever studied. There are many reasons Alzheimer's research is so challenging. To start, the brain is the most complex and inaccessible organ in the body and the disease is correspondingly complicated. A new report, "Researching Alzheimer's Medicines: Setbacks and Stepping Stones", examines the complexities of researching and treating Alzheimer's and drug development success rates. In recent years researchers have greatly advanced our understanding of Alzheimer's disease and potential ways to attack or prevent it. Today, with nearly 100 medicines in development for Alzheimer's and related dementias, the pipeline is full of potential new treatments that can hopefully one day reverse, treat or even prevent this disease. Many biopharmaceutical researchers and companies are committed to finding treatments that realize the promise of this expanding scientific knowledge to halt or prevent the disease. Many researchers devote their entire career to ending the burden of Alzheimer's disease. Like many of us, they know someone who has suffered from Alzheimer's or they have seen the impact it has on patients and families. Alzheimer's disease is among the most devastating and costly illnesses we face and the need for new treatments will only become more critical as our population ages. With continued determination we can change the course of the disease and, ultimately, prevent Alzheimer's patients from becoming Alzheimer's patients in the first place.

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