Alzheimers Research Reforms
November 7, 2013

Alzheimer’s Report Calls For Research Reform And Streamlining

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

A new report presented at the Alzheimer's Disease Summit: The Path to 2025 being held at the New York Academy of Sciences warned that prohibitive costs and lengthy development processes are preventing scientists from keeping pace with the growing burden the disease is expected to have worldwide in the coming years.

The report said streamlining the development of Alzheimer's drugs could reduce costs and speed the approval of drugs that mitigate or halt the disease.

"Alzheimer's disease is a global emergency. It robs people of dignity in their final years and takes a debilitating toll on national economies," said Ellis Rubinstein, New York Academy of Sciences president and CEO. "Progress in developing new therapies has been unacceptably slow, and so we must rethink how Alzheimer's research is carried out so that we can accelerate our understanding of what causes this complex disease."

The new report, titled "Economic Analysis of Opportunities to Accelerate Alzheimer's Research and Development," was presented as a working draft to draw comments and evaluation from experts at the summit, which follows the first Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit convened by the National Institutes of Health in 2012. According to the academy, a final version of the report will be published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences early next year.

"Global leadership and collaboration across business and government are essential to drive coordinated action, promote rapid innovation, and spur the focus needed to achieve a means of prevention and effective diagnosis, treatment, and care for Alzheimer's and dementia," said George Vradenburg, Chairman of USAgainstAlzheimer’s, which he co-founded in October 2010. "The inefficiencies in the current drug development system can be addressed and we can meet the goal of stopping Alzheimer's by 2025."

The report named several obstacles to identifying an effective Alzheimer's disease treatment – particularly the high cost and lengthy development and research processes such as the large clinical trials that span multiple years. The report said the total cost of bringing an effective Alzheimer's treatment to market currently is close to $6 billion—almost triple the industry average for drug development.

The authors of the report called for the development of reliable, universally accepted disease markers for Alzheimer’s that would allow for the more efficient matching of treatments to patients. Other recommendations included data-sharing arrangements where companies could share pre-competitive research results and the promotion of public-private partnerships that collect resources from governments, academia, industry, and patient advocacy groups.

According to the report, implementing these and other reforms would bring down the total cost of developing a useful Alzheimer's treatment by around $4 billion and shrink the timeline for developing and launching a successful medication, aligning both more closely with the industry average. The report authors said their recommendations would also boost private investment in Alzheimer's drug development.

“By creating conditions favorable to Alzheimer's drug development through targeted recommendations, 7 million case-years of dementia could be averted and upwards of $100 billion in healthcare expenditures could be saved over a 15-year period in the United States alone,” the Academy said in a statement.