U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Co-Chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s, applauded today’s announcement that the National Institute on Aging has selected The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor to co-lead the Alzheimer’s Disease Precision Models Center in conjunction with Indiana University. The National Institute on Aging will award The Jackson Laboratory and Indiana University $25 million in grant funding to establish and support this new innovative effort to combat Alzheimer’s disease. The Jackson Laboratory will receive $15 million of this funding over the course of five years.
“Today’s announcement holds tremendous promise in the fight against Alzheimer’s and is truly a credit to the skilled scientists of The Jackson Laboratory, who are global leaders in biomedical research. I am delighted that this exciting research will be conducted in Maine,” said Senator Collins. “As the founder and Co-Chair of the Senate Alzheimer’s Task Force, working to increase federal funding to fight Alzheimer’s has long been one of my top priorities. One of the key challenges facing Alzheimer’s research has been the lack of a good model to test possible drugs to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s and one day cure it. By generating and studying new mouse models and creating a preclinical testing pipeline, the Alzheimer’s Disease Precision Models Center will help to accelerate the process through which novel Alzheimer’s therapies can be tested in clinical trials and eventually lead to treatments for the millions of Americans suffering from this devastating disease.”
Approximately 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease today, including 37,000 in Maine, and that number is soaring as our overall population grows older and lives longer. This has dire implications for the federal budget. The U.S. currently spends more than $236 billion per year, including $160 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid, making Alzheimer’s our nation’s costliest disease.
Senator Collins has served as Co-Chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s since it was founded in the Senate in 2004. Earlier this year, she helped secure $1.391 billion for Alzheimer’s research in the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill—a $400 million increase over FY 2016. This bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee with overwhelming bipartisan support.
If enacted, the $1.391 billion in funding would build on last year’s historic $350 million increase for Alzheimer’s research that Senator Collins advocated for in FY 2016, which brought total funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institute on Aging to $991 million. It represents significant progress towards the goal of providing $2 billion per year for Alzheimer’s research, the amount experts say is needed to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s by the year 2025.