Monday, November 11, 2019
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has become a prevalent advocate for Alzheimer's Disease in recent years, and believes that finding enough volunteers to participate in medical studies that will help us understand the disease better is a compounding problem. As the population ages, more and more individuals are suffering from this terrible condition. Nearly 6 million Americans are living with the disease today, and it is estimated that by 2050, the number could be as high as 14 million.
No new drug for Alzheimer's has been presented in over 15 years, in part due to the fact that clinical studies for the disease run 4 to 8 years compared to 1.5 years with studies for cardiovascular diseases. After the expensive process of diagnosing Alzheimer's, it is still difficult for a potential patient to enter into a clinical trial. 1 out of 10 people screened for certain types of Alzheimer’s trials will actually qualify, and 80% of do not meet their recruitment goals on time. So how can these issues be resolved?
- Increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease so patients start seeking help earlier in the disease’s progression.
- Develop better diagnostics so that doctors can detect the disease sooner and help people enroll in the right clinical trials, including blood tests.
- Raise awareness of—and hopefully openness to—clinical trials among doctors and patients alike.
See Bill Gates, Here’s a Way You Can Help Fight Alzheimer’s, Gates Notes, November 5, 2019.
Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.