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Transforming dementia research: FY 2023 NIH progress report and bypass budget

Dr. Richard Hodes
Richard J. HODES,
Office of the Director (OD)

During the past year and despite the challenges of the pandemic, NIA scientists and grantees continued to make tremendous progress in Alzheimer’s and related dementias research. We’ve provided highlights of some of these achievements in the new NIH Professional Judgment Budget for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias progress report, which I unveiled on July 19 at the HHS Secretary’s Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services.

The report, titled Transforming Research to Prevent, Detect, Treat, and Provide Better Care for Dementia (PDF, 11.5M), features summaries of key recent studies, including but not limited to:

  • Identifying novel biological mechanisms that may lead to dementia and developing new drug candidates;
  • Discovering ways to effectively diagnose dementia;
  • Improving the quality of life, care, and caregiving for people with dementia; and
  • Better understanding health disparities so we can eliminate them.

We also recount new advances spurred on in part by NIH funding, including the first commercial blood test of amyloid protein, which is a biomarker for Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, we address FDA’s recent accelerated approval of aducanumab, the first drug to receive any form of FDA approval to treat Alzheimer’s since 2003. It should be noted that this accelerated approval was based on the ability to reduce the amount of amyloid in the brain, and not on any demonstrated effect on cognitive decline or clinical symptoms of dementia. It thus remains to be seen whether amyloid-targeted interventions will be effective as measured by these clinical outcomes. Indeed, it is likely that Alzheimer’s and other dementias will require individualized treatment for each affected individual, much like cancer. NIA will therefore continue to push onward via our broad research portfolios focused on identifying effective preventions, diagnostics, treatments, and support for those living with these diseases and their caregivers.

Estimating the FY 2023 Alzheimer’s and related dementias research bypass budget

Each year since 2015, NIH has presented a Professional Judgment Budget (sometimes referred to as a “bypass budget”) for the additional funds needed to help reach the research goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which is to effectively treat and prevent Alzheimer’s and related dementias by 2025. To calculate the funds needed, we carefully analyzed research progress over the past year. We considered new research initiatives that were launched, and we measured progress against the yardstick of our research implementation milestones.

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 NIH bypass budget identifies $226 million in additional resources needed for new Alzheimer’s and related dementias research, with the overall resources needed totaling $3.4 billion.

Join our journey!

We encourage you to be part of this exciting area of research. Apply for Alzheimer’s and related dementias funding or consider applying for an opportunity to work with us here at NIA – either in the lab or as a program official overseeing research projects that study neurodegeneration, cognitive decline, and the many other aspects of these devastating diseases. Join us as the momentum for finding solutions continues to grow.

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