It’s also critical that we make clinical trial systems open and coordinated on an international scale. We can do this by establishing large cohorts of potential trial participants so trials can be started and completed faster and so participants can be better matched to the interventions most likely to benefit them. Finding and sharing reliable biological markers that measure the disease’s progress, with or without any symptoms, would provide an earlier understanding of which drugs work, ultimately speeding progress.
If companies, governments and academic researchers make these changes, we can get back on track to developing a drug that can slow or reverse Alzheimer’s by 2025 — and offer tremendous benefits for patients and health systems. We could avert 7 million case-years of dementia and save upward of $100 billion in health care expenditures over a 15-year period, according to the Alzheimer’s Disease Summit report.
The G-8 has recognized the urgency of responding to the growing crisis of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Now, we all must stand behind its commitment and do our part to streamline drug development so that we can make the 2025 goal a reality. We need new Alzheimer’s drugs sooner, so our health span can equal our lifespan.
Ellis Rubinstein is president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences; George Vradenburg is the convener of The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease.