National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease: 2016 Update. Goal 1: Prevent and Effectively Treat Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias by 2025

08/01/2016

Research continues to expand our understanding of the causes of, treatments for, and prevention of AD/ADRD. This goal seeks to develop effective prevention and treatment modalities by 2025. Ongoing research and clinical inquiry can inform our ability to delay onset of AD/ADRD, minimize its symptoms, and delay its progression. Under this goal, HHS will prioritize and accelerate the pace of scientific research and ensure that as evidence-based solutions are identified and quickly translated,, put into practice, and brought to scale so that individuals with AD/ADRD can benefit from increases in scientific knowledge. HHS will identify interim milestones and set ambitious deadlines for achieving these milestones in order to meet this goal.

In 2015/2016, Goal 1 advanced on a number of fronts, thanks to a research community galvanized by a series of National Institutes of Health (NIH)-hosted summits on AD/ADRD and a ramp-up of federal funding for dementia research.

Federal funding devoted to AD/ADRD research has expanded over the past several years, reflecting intensified national interest in finding ways to treat these devastating diseases. NIH played a lead role by redirecting $50 million in funding in fiscal year (FY) 2012 and allocating $40 million in FY 2013 to promising avenues of AD/ADRD research. Federal appropriations increases to the NIH budget by $100 million in FY 2014 and $25 million in FY 2015 were approved, with the expectation that a significant portion of the funds would be aimed at AD/ADRD research. As a result, spending at the NIH on AD research increased by roughly 30% from FY 2011 through FY 2015.

In December 2015, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L. 114-113) that called for an unprecedented additional $350 million in 1 year towards AD/ADRD research (subject to the scientific opportunity presented in the peer review process) -- a boost that will further accelerate progress towards the Plan's ultimate research goal: finding effective interventions to treat or prevent AD/ADRD by 2025. This new funding invigorated and expanded investigator-initiated studies, the mainstay of NIH-funded efforts to learn more about AD/ADRD, as well as those conducted by dedicated NIH staff scientists. [See https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2029/text.]

NIH was already poised to integrate the extraordinary new funds into its research portfolio. In July 2015, NIH released the first of what is now an annual professional judgment budget for Congress -- and the American people -- estimating the costs of accomplishing the research goals of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. Known as a "bypass budget" because of its direct transmission to the President and subsequently to Congress without modification through the normal federal budget process, the estimate outlined funding needs for the most promising research approaches for FY 2017. The NIH bypass budget for FY 2018 is anticipated to be released in the summer of 2016. NIH will prepare these estimates through FY 2025. Only two other areas of biomedical research have been the subject of this special budget approach: cancer and HIV/AIDS. [See https://aspe.hhs.gov/national-plan-address-alzheimers-disease-2014-update.]

Planning for the annual bypass budget and NIH's current AD/ADRD research portfolio are informed by research implementation milestones based on recommendations for Alzheimer's and related dementias developed at a series of the NIH-convened research summits (described below). [See https://aspe.hhs.gov/napa-research-milestones;https://www.nia.nih.gov/research/recommendations-nih-ad-research-summit-2015; and http://www.ninds.nih.gov/funding/areas/neurodegeneration/workshops/adrd2013/ADRD_2013_Recommendations_NAPA_508comp.pdf.]