Hillary Clinton is laying out an aggressive plan to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease within a decade, which she says will be achieved by a dramatically boosting spending by four times the current levels.
The Democratic presidential front-runner vows to spend $2 billion per year “to prevent, effectively treat and make a cure possible by 2025.” She will announce her plan at a campaign stop in Iowa later on Tuesday.
The annual $2 billion in spending will be part of a “historic, decade-long investment” that would bring up spending levels from the $586 million spent by the National Institutes of Health this year.
The government spending bill signed by Obama on Friday would add $350 million per year for Alzheimer’s research – a level that researchers still maintain is vastly inadequate.
Her campaign said the plan was shaped by conversations with physicians and scientists who have long pushed for Congress to boost the funding on its own.
Several of those advocates took part in a press conference Tuesday to praise her plan, including Robert Egge, executive director of the Alzheimer's Impact Movement.
“This is the first time a presidential candidate has released a bold and substantive plan [on Alzheimer’s disease],” said Egge, who previously led the Alzheimer’s Study Group co-chaired by former Speaker Newt Gingrich.
In the conference call on Tuesday, another top Alzheimer’s advocate underscored that the plan would reduce strain on the nation’s dwindling Medicare and Medicaid budgets.
“This is a tsunami, epidemic that could single-handedly crush Medicare and Medicaid,” warned Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, director of the Genetics and Aging Research unit at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“It’s an unmet medical need of the greatest type,” he said.
He also highlighted that the plan would benefit women – who are almost two-thirds more likely to have the disease – and both African Americans and Hispanics who are about two times as likely to have the disease.