The number of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s disease (AD) continues to rise according to a new report.1 Researchers found that approximately 6.08 million Americans had Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to the disease in 2017. Additionally, the report found that 15 million people will be living with Alzheimer’s by 2060.
The report found that potential new treatments could have a profound impact. For example, a medicine that could prevent the risk of mild cognitive impairment by 50 percent would reduce the number of people with AD or MCI by 6 million people in 2060.
Another focus of the report was the large population of people with “preclinical” or asymptomatic Alzheimer’s disease. 46.7 million Americans currently have preclinical Alzheimer’s disease although many will not progress to clinical disease. This is a group that may benefit from treatments before the onset of brain damage.
With the number of Americans living with preclinical and clinical Alzheimer’s disease on the rise, biopharmaceutical research for treatments is critical. The task is daunting and setbacks have far outnumbered the successes: since 1998, 123 medicines in development for AD have not made it through clinical trials, while only 4 have been approved.
Biopharmaceutical researchers however remain committed to finding treatments for Alzheimer’s and are currently researching 85 potential medicines.
1r. Brookmeyer, et al, “Forecasting the prevalence of preclinical and clinical Alzheimer’s disease in the United States,” Alzheimer’s & Dementia, article in press, http://www.alzheimersanddementia.com/article/S1552-5260(17)33813-X/fulltext.
Andrew Powaleny is Senior Director of Public Affairs at PhRMA and leads the organization's scientific communications. Before joining PhRMA in 2015, he worked in public affairs for a small firm in Washington, DC and served as Deputy Press Secretary for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Andrew came to Washington, D.C. via Connecticut with a degree from Eastern Connecticut State University where he majored in public policy and government. Andrew is active as a runner and volunteer with the DC Front Runners; most recently serving on its Board of Directors for three years as co-race director. He is also a member of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and mentors students through his alumni association with The Fund for American Studies. Andrew is passionate about scientific innovation, especially for mental illness, and his heroes are the men and women of America’s biopharmaceutical research companies.