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Viewpoint | Next Generation Neurology

The Human Alzheimer Disease Project Answering the Call

Steven T. DeKosky, MD1; John H. Growdon, MD2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville
2Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Neurol. 2016;73(4):373-374. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.4512.
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This Viewpoint outlines the roles and interactions of organizations conducting research leadsing to effective treatments for Alzheimer disease.

The epidemic of Alzheimer disease (AD) and related dementias that Katzman predicted in 19761 has come to pass, and unless something dramatic is done, it is likely to grow to alarming proportions in the future. In their editorial “The Human Alzheimer Disease Project: A New Call to Arms,”2 Rosenberg and Petersen threw down the gauntlet and challenged the medical and scientific communities, as well as the public at large, to meet this threat. They made the case that deciphering the causes and delivering effective treatment would require increasing the federal budget to $2 billion to support a focused attack on Alzheimer and related dementias. Just as Katzman’s prediction has come true, it is time for the Rosenberg and Petersen call to be fulfilled as well. President Obama’s announcement of an additional $300 million for AD research is a step in the right direction, but much larger amounts are needed to enable research leading to effective treatments for Alzheimer and related dementias.

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An Integrated Approach for Translating Research Discoveries Into Treatments for Alzheimer Disease

The $2 billion Congressional appropriation would be channeled through the National Institutes of Health to an independent Human Alzheimer Project under the aegis of the National Institute on Aging. The double-headed arrows indicate reciprocal interactions between each entity. Pharmaceutical companies are the final pathway to drug production, but the translation of discoveries into therapies for Alzheimer disease will involve many partners.

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