July/August 2008

Congress Acts to Increase Funding for FDA

Before Congress adjourned for its August recess, House and Senate appropriators took important steps towards increasing funding for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

On July 17, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $2.038 billion in overall funding for FDA in Fiscal Year 2009.  This sum includes a $325 million increase for the Agency over Fiscal Year 2008. $40 million would be dedicated to upgrading the Agency’s scientific capacity and $16 million would be applied to bolstering the Critical Path Initiative. The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee supported the a similar increase prior to recess, but the full House Appropriations Committee has not taken up its bill for consideration.

There will not be significant legislative developments relating to appropriations until Congress returns on September 8. However, the Coalition should be pleased by these positive actions and encourage Members of Congress to continue placing a high priority on strengthening the FDA.

ACT-AD and the 11th Annual International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease

The 11th Annual International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (ICAD) took place in Chicago,Illinois, from July 26 to July 31, 2008.  At this conference, Alzheimer’s experts from around the world gathered to discuss significant breakthroughs in the field of Alzheimer’s research and present results from clinical trials of potential AD therapies.

The ACT-AD Coalition had a presence in Chicago during the conference, hosting an informal meeting of leading Alzheimer’s experts from the U.S. and Europe.  The meeting provided an opportunity for these thought leaders to share their insights into how the development and evaluation of novel AD therapies could be improved.

The work of the ACT-AD was also recognized during a reception at ICAD hosted by Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease (LEAD), a group intended to galvanize leaders from business, government, and civil society to achieve solutions Alzheimer’s disease crisis.

Virtual Town Hall on Early Detection and Alzheimer’s Disease

On July 9, the Alzheimer’s Research Forum convened a virtual town hall meeting on the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. The town hall was moderated by Dr. Harold Varmus, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and hosted by the Alzheimer’s Study Group.

The discussion centered around the strategic importance of early AD detection; how early detection provides opportunities and challenges for the Alzheimer’s drug development process; and the impact of early detection on AD patients and caregivers. It involved a series of presentations from scientists and patients who have been engaged in ACT-AD Coalition activities. These included Dr. Sid Gilman, Director of the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Dr. John Morris, Director of the Washington University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and Mr. Bill Bridgewater, Alzheimer’s Patient Advocate.

To learn more about the program, click here.