August 2011

FDA Releases Regulatory Science Plan

On August 15th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a “Strategic Plan for Regulatory Science,” which seeks to modernize the sciences currently employed to develop and evaluate products under its review.  The hope is to more efficiently turn scientific advances into products that benefit patients.

According to FDA and advocates alike, the ever increasing complexity of new product discoveries, was quickly outpacing FDA’s current regulatory sciences.  FDA leadership has stated that, by modernizing the sciences used to review those discoveries, the plan will ensure that FDA reviewers can continue to make, “science-based decisions,” that result in, “sound regulatory policy,” without stifling innovation or sacrificing America’s high safety standards.

The plan also elaborates on a the agency’s desire to create more robust capabilities, through enhanced collaboration between developers and evaluators, on new products and materials in the fields of cell therapy, tissue engineering, genomics, personalized medicine, advanced computing, and information technology.  In it, the agency also champions their push to more effectively and efficiently disseminate health information to consumers through the use of newer and more adaptable information technology.

To read the plan, click here.

HHS Announces NAPA Advisory Council Membership

On August 23rd, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the 12 individuals who will serve on the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services. The 12 non-federal members, including Eric Hall the president of ACT-AD member Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, encompass Alzheimer’s disease patient advocates, caregivers, health care providers and others with Alzheimer’s disease-related expertise.

The council’s charge will be to use their expertise to advise the Secretary on federal programs that impact people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.  The council will also be tasked with advising HHS on a national Alzheimer’s disease plan.  The goal of the plan will be to to help reduce personal and financial burdens faced by those with the disease, and promote research toward its prevention and treatment

In a press release, HHS Secretary Sebelius lent support to the advocacy community’s call for action, by citing the “overwhelming” number of nominations which demonstrated not only how widespread the impact of this disease is, but also how widespread the commitment is to addressing the disease.

The full Advisory Council, established May 23, also includes federal members and will meet quarterly to assist in the development of a national plan by HHS, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation to address the disease. The Advisory Council is required by the National Alzheimer’s Project Act and its members will serve for overlapping four-year terms.

For more information on the Advisory Committee, click here.

The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation to Host 12th International Conference on Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery

This September 26th & 27th the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), an ACT-AD Member, will be hosting the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City, New Jersey.  The stated purpose of the conference is to bring together investigators intent on accelerating the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The ADDF’s funded investigators, along with other scientists in the field from over 160 academic, industry and government scientists from around the world, will present their current research and be given an opportunity to expand their professional and scientific networks.

This two-day global meeting is organized around four sub-topics: Targeting Tau for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia; Inflammation, Chaperones and Novel Targets; Neuroprotection and Synaptic Enhancement; and Accelerating Clinical Trials for Alzheimer’s Disease Through Biomarkers.

“This year’s conference is particularly timely,” said Dr. Howard Fillit, ADDF’s Executive Director.  “We are especially excited about the inclusion of the Accelerating Clinical Trials for Alzheimer’s Disease Through Biomarkers section in this year’s program.  With advances in basic science and experimental research rapidly bringing drug discovery closer to the clinic, it is more important than ever before to foster dialogue between preclinical and clinical researchers in the field and accelerate the translation of new knowledge to patients.”

FOR CONFERENCE DETAILS AND TO REGISTER, please visit the conference website.  Group discounts are available!

TO CO-SPONSOR OR EXHIBIT, please contact Filomena Machleder at [email protected].

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America to Host 9th Annual National Memory Screening Day

In honor of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, an ACT-AD member, is sponsoring its 9th annual National Memory Screening Day.  On November 15, 2011 community sites nationwide will offer free, confidential memory screenings and educational materials to the public.

During the National Memory Screening Day, five to ten minute face-to-face screenings are administered by qualified healthcare professionals (i.e., physicians, psychologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, pharmacists). Screening sites include Alzheimer’s agencies, assisted living residences, long-term care facilities, doctors’ offices, hospitals, senior centers, YMCA’s, pharmacies and other local venues.

In 2009, nearly 2,200 organizations participated nationwide and an estimated 58,000+ people were screened.  To assist in this year’s National Memory Screening Day you can host a screening site, offer to be a screener, encourage people with memory concerns to be screened, or spread the word.

For more information visit