Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton says she has a plan that could mean a cure for Alzheimer’s by 2025 — just a decade from now.
More than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. African Americans get Alzheimer’s at twice the rate of white Americans.
“There’s so much we already know,” Dr. Virginia Lee of the University of Pennsylvania said on the Clinton website. “With additional funding, we could treat patients who are cognitively normal who might be on their way to Alzheimer’s, so they don’t develop cognitive impairment for a long time. We could start combination therapy [targeting amyloids, tangles, and inflammation]. And we could prevent Alzheimer’s from developing in the first place.”
Clinton’s plan calls for massive increases in funding for research to the tune of $2 billion a year. Researchers believe that type of commitment is what is necessary to close in on a cure. Further, Clinton promised reliable levels of funding to give “researchers greater freedom to pursue the big, creative bets – including cross-collaboration with researchers in related fields – that can result in dramatic pay-offs not only for Alzheimer’s but for other neurodegenerative illnesses as well,” according to the Clinton campaign website. Read the details here.
Additionally, the Clinton campaign said she would:
- Appoint a top-flight team to oversee this initiative and consult regularly with researchers to ensure progress toward achieving the treatment target.
- Work with stakeholders across sectors to recruit participants for clinical trials—a tremendous obstacle to developing new therapies.
GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, when asked at a campaign rally in New Hampshire what he would do to combat Alzheimer’s, said scientists should have made more progress by now on finding a cure for the disease. “Tough. Tough. It’s a total top priority for me. That’s something we should be working on.”
Clinton’s plan comes just a month after she unveiled a caregiving agenda meant to provide tax relief to family members who care for ailing parents and grandparents, counting the hours family caregivers put in toward Social Security, expanding access to family caregiver respite, supporting paid family leave for caregivers, and creating a new Care Workers Initiative across the federal government to address the needs of paid caregivers.
Under Clinton’s caregiving proposal, she would push Medicaid to cover a comprehensive caregiver session with a clinician plus promote coordinated care among physicians for the family of every newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or related dementias.
According to her campaign, Clinton will work with Congress to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program—a policy that will ensure that families and caregivers have improved access to coordinated help if their loved ones go missing which happens to one in six people with Alzheimer’s.
Clinton’s plan would also direct the Social Security Administration to raise awareness of annual cognitive screening available to seniors along with their annual wellness visits.