44 million people across the world have received an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis – and millions more live with the emotional and financial toll that this disease takes on families and caregivers. September marks World Alzheimer’s Month, giving us an important opportunity to reflect on the best ways to tackle this disease.
Although we have made progress in our efforts to understand the science behind Alzheimer’s disease, discovering new diagnostics and medicines remains a challenge. Research and development on any new medicine requires significant time and investment and more often than not ends in failure. Alzheimer’s, a disease without a cure or way to slow its progression, has proven particularly complicated.
Scientific discoveries don’t always translate into new treatments, but stakeholders that have devoted years to researching Alzheimer’s hold a wealth of knowledge about the disease. As one of the first companies to fund research in the 1990s, we have a strong commitment to beating this disease and high motivation for using collaboration to speed the process.
Imagine the possibilities if stakeholders shared their knowledge and then sifted through it together, working collaboratively to put the pieces of the puzzle together. This thought has spawned new collaborative efforts that offer some of our best chances at defeating this debilitating disease:
- This year’s Alzheimer’s Association Internal Conference (AAIC) in Copenhagen brought together the global research community in a collaborative environment focused on sharing knowledge to accelerate the path forward on Alzheimer’s research and development. Further collaboration by the global community will soon be showcased with the upcoming release of the 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease International Annual Report.
- An exciting new venture led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP), brings together 10 biopharmaceutical companies and several non-profit organizations. As the name suggests, this cross-sector partnership focuses on rapidly developing new diagnostics and treatments by using our combined knowledge to transform the current model for research and development.
- On September 11-12, approximately 180 academic, industry, policy, and patient advocacy leaders will come together at one of four international Global Dementia Legacy Events. These events bring together experts from around the world who focus on looking for concrete, practical ways to fast-track new and innovative approaches to Alzheimer’s.
Shared knowledge could be just what we need to propel us rapidly forward to beating this disease. Stakeholders in these partnerships find motivation in the shared interest in compressing the R&D timelines and increasing the likelihood of success in finding Alzheimer’s treatments soon. Using our combined knowledge has the potential to move biological discoveries into actual treatments that will benefit millions of people worldwide.