Alzheimer's research is getting a boost with about $45 million in new funding.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced on Wednesday grants for research to find therapies for Alzheimer's, a progressive brain disease that is the sixth leading cause of death in the USA, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
The funding includes $40 million from the Office of the NIH Director, Francis Collins. Additional funding will come from the National Institute on Aging.
"As many as 5 million Americans face the challenge of Alzheimer's disease, which robs them of their memories, their independence and ultimately, their lives," Collins said in a statement. "We are determined, even in a time of constrained fiscal resources, to capitalize on exciting scientific opportunities to advance understanding of Alzheimer's biology and find effective therapies as quickly as possible."
One of the projects that the funding will support is the Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative APOE4 Trial with the Banner Alzheimer's Institute. This five-year trial will test an anti-amyloid drug in cognitively healthy adults, ages 60-75, who are at increased risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's. They inherited two copies of the APOE4 allele, a major genetic risk factor.
"Once again, we are extremely grateful to the NIH for the opportunity to help accelerate the evaluation of treatments to prevent the clinical onset of Alzheimer's and find ones that work as soon as possible," said Eric Reiman, executive director of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute, in a statement. "This trial will allow us to extend our work to individuals at greatest risk at older ages."
The funding also will support several other clinical trials.
The number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia will grow as the U.S. population of those age 65 and older increases, the Alzheimer's Association says. The number of people 65 and older with Alzheimer's is estimated to reach 7.1 million by 2025, a 40% increase from the 5 million age 65 and older currently affected. By 2050, the number of people 65 and older with Alzheimer's is projected to nearly triple, to 13.8 million, unless treatments or cures are developed, the group says.