Sustaining Our Momentum in Alzheimer’s Research


Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affecting 11% of the population 65 years and older. Without a treatment or prevention breakthrough, studies estimate there could be as many as 13.5 million Americans living with the disease by 2050 with associated health care costs rising above $1 trillion.

However, the research has progressed, as scientists unlock and unveil the secrets of the brain. Recently, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that measures of the tau protein are better markers of the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's than measures of amyloid beta proteins seen in PET scans. This finding could potentially lead to new drugs to delay the onset of symptoms.

Federal funding for Alzheimer’s research has also increased with an infusion of $85 million at the NIH for the BRAIN initiative, which aims to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain. The goal is to deepen current knowledge on how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact to accelerate the development of new treatments for brain disorders.

During the upcoming BIO International Convention in San Francisco June 6 - 9, experts will explain how the research has evolved in a panel discussion on Tuesday, June 7 titled “Casting a Wider Net in Alzheimer’s Research: The Diversity of Today’s Approaches and Signs of Progress.” The session will be moderated by Susan Peschin, MHS, CEO of the Alliance on Aging Research, and include speakers Susan Abushakra, M.D., chief medical officer at Alzheon, Inc; Carole Ho, Chief Medical Officer at Denali Therapeutics; Christopher Missling, Ph.D., President and CEO at Anavex Life Sciences; Ken Rhodes, Chief Scientific Officer at Yumanity Therapeutics; and Arnon Rosenthal, Ph.D., Co-Founder, President, and CEO at Alector, LLC.

The BIO International Convention attracts more than 15,000 scientists, biotech leaders and entrepreneurs to provide insights and inspirations on major trends in the industry. Research!America will also host a panel discussion on immorbidity and personalized medicine at the convention on Wednesday, June 8 featuring Research!America board members Bill Hait, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head Janssen Research & Development, LLC and Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D, Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy; Vice Dean for Research, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. For more information, visit

To read more about the Washington University study, visit

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter