Another Step Toward Progress Against Dementia

Phyllis Ferrell 2013 Bass headshotToday’s guest post comes from Phyllis Ferrell, Lilly’s global brand development leader for Alzheimer’s disease.

Research takes time, but when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, time isn’t always on our side. When Lilly scientists began researching Alzheimer’s disease more than 26 years ago, I imagine they expected we would have made more progress by 2015. As a field, we have made progress, and continue to do so today. But now is the time to take our learnings across the finish line to confront one of the largest global health challenges in developed and developing nations alike.

This week, to address these challenges, the World Health Organization hosts its first Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia. The summit brings together government representatives from around the world alongside experts from research, clinical and not-for-profit organizations. The meeting underscores an important opportunity for the global community to take a unified stance against dementia, and to emphasize the need to prioritize research.

If we want to see progress, we need to focus on the science. As a demonstration of our continued commitment to supporting research, we announced today that Lilly will join several other industry stakeholders in investing in the Dementia Discovery Fund. This new global $100m fund – supported by the UK government, Alzheimer’s Research UK, and a number of pharmaceutical companies – aims to encourage new drug development by investing in early-stage research.

Last year, global leaders came together to endorse a commitment to make Alzheimer’s disease treatable by 2025. By working together and providing opportunities for collaborative discussion, we can achieve that goal. This week’s WHO conference and the Dementia Discovery Fund represent two important steps along the road toward tackling Alzheimer’s disease, which in turn means two important steps in our effort to make life better for people around the world, and we are excited to be a part of it.