Smith's remarks for the Alzheimer's Association 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer's
Remarks by Chris Smith
Special thanks to Christine Hopkins who has and continues to serve so effectively as the Alzheimer’s Association ambassador throughout the years and for her leadership in today’s 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Twenty-three years ago, I along with Congressman Ed Markey created the Congressional Alzheimer's Caucus.
Today, our bipartisan Caucus is 150 members strong.
NAPA created a new, frequently updated and expanded national strategy with the goal of finding a cure, or a disease-modifying therapy by 2025. NAPA also created an advisory committee for a whole-of-government response to the Alzheimer's crisis.
The impact has been profound. Alzheimer's research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was $600 million in 2015. We've quintupled—that is, increased NIH research funding five-fold—to $3.1 billion for this year.
Like you, I am hopeful that breakthroughs will come.
This summer—for the first time since 2003—the FDA approved a new drug Aduhelm for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
As you know, the Alzheimer’s Association said that “as the first drug that slows progression of the disease, this is the beginning of a completely new future for Alzheimer’s treatments.”
Of course more trials will follow, but the Alzheimer’s Association's chief science officer Maria Carrillo explained: “History has shown us that approvals of the first drug in a new category invigorates the field, increases investments in new treatments and encourages greater innovation.”
Finally, in Congress, I've co-authored new initiatives including The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act to provide training and other support services to those who care for their parents, spouses, siblings and friends who are living today with Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite the heartbreak and pain and agony, please be encouraged.
Your amazing work and tenacious advocacy inspires, mobilizes, and gives hope and strength to persevere.