The Obama administration is boosting funding for Alzheimer’s research by $50 million this year to further investigate the genetic underpinnings of the disease and test drugs that may arrest its development.About 5.1 million Americans suffer from the condition and caseloads are expected to double by 2050, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The cause of the degenerative condition is unknown and there is no cure.
Alzheimer’s “has quickly become one of our nation’s most critical health challenges,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at an event in Washington today announcing the new funding.The National Institutes of Health, the largest source of biomedical research funding in the world, expected to spend about $450 million on Alzheimer’s research this year before today’s announcement. The agency will spend about $3.1 billion on HIV/AIDS research this year and $5.8 billion on cancer.
Researchers sponsored by NIH reported on Feb. 2 that for the first time they were able to track a protein associated with Alzheimer’s, called tau, as it spread through the brains of mice, destroying neurons. That and other recent developments have inspired hope that new treatments may be found, said Francis Collins, director of the NIH.The extra $50 million will be dedicated to identifying gene variations associated with the disease, developing “cell-based models” for the disease so that scientists can test thousands of agents that might be effective against it and conduct trials, Collins said.President Barack Obama plans to ask for an extra $80 million for Alzheimer’s research in his fiscal 2013 budget, to be released next week, Sebelius said. Sebelius’ department also plans to spend $26 million this year for Alzheimer’s efforts unrelated to research, such as support for patient families.
Full story: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-07/u-s-to-boost-funding-for-alzheimer-s-research-by-50-million.html
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