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NIH Seeks Additional $323M in Funding for Alzheimer's Disease Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health this week proposed receiving an additional $323 million in Alzheimer's disease funding over what has already been budgeted for the agency in fiscal 2017, stating that the additional money would significantly accelerate research into a disease that is expected to affect more than 65 million people worldwide by 2030.

"While we have made significant progress in our understanding of the mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease, there currently is no cure, and no treatments have been conclusively proven to prevent or delay its course," NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement. "We believe that if we expand and build upon our base of scientific knowledge, we can identify and implement the strategies for combating Alzheimer's disease that are so desperately needed."

The proposal comes as part of a so-called bypass budget, a report drafted at the request of the US Congress that outlines specific goals and the expected levels of funding needed to achieve them. Although routinely issued by the National Cancer Institute, this week's bypass budget is the NIH's first that is related to Alzheimer's disease.

In its proposal, which was drafted with input from those attending the NIH's Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit earlier this year, the agency asked for just over $1 billion to study Alzheimer's disease, compared with the $737 million in its base appropriation. Of that additional funding, roughly $69 million would be used to investigate the molecular pathogenesis and physiology of the disorder, including contributing genetic and epigenetic factors that could yield new targets for therapeutic intervention, the NIH said.

An additional $36.5 million above what has already been allocated for Alzheimer's disease research would be applied to improved diagnosis, assessment, and tracking of patients, including the development of new biomarkers and disease-monitoring technologies, the agency added.

About $92.8 million would go toward translational research and clinical interventions; $45.1 million to studying Alzheimer's disease epidemiology; and $9.8 million to improving how Alzheimer's disease patients are cared for, such as optimizing dosing regimens with existing drugs.

Additionally, $31 million would be used to improve resources for researchers including data and tissue repositories; and $35.4 million to help establish and support research partnerships between the public and private sectors.

The NIH said that the bypass budget would be updated annually through fiscal 2025, the target date set by the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's disease for developing effective modes of treatment and prevention.