Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has vowed to make Alzheimer’s disease research a top priority if she is elected, pledging billions to fund the search for effective treatment for the illness by 2025.
Clinton released a proposal this week outlining a plan to spend $2 billion annually for the next 10 years on Alzheimer’s research and support for those who care for family members afflicted with the disease.
“For me, the bottom line is if we're the kind of nation that cares for citizens and supports families, then we've got work to do and we need to do it better when it comes to diseases like Alzheimer's,” Clinton told attendees Tuesday at a campaign stop in Fairfield, Iowa.
Clinton’s announcement comes just days after Congress approved a spending bill that included hefty boost in federal funding for the National Institutes of Health, part of which is allotted for Alzheimer’s research.
The proposal includes a tax credit for families who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, an acknowledgment to the burden of family caregivers in terms of lost wages amid a lack of support structures.
Clinton is the first candidate in the 2016 presidential field to make the subject of Alzheimer’s research funding a major part of a campaign platform, but her interest in the disease is longstanding, including serving as co-chair of a congressional task force on Alzheimer’s as a senator.
The news of the proposal was applauded by senior care associations and dementia advocacy groups. “This year, Alzheimer’s disease became a bipartisan priority on Capitol Hill,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, a nonprofit advocacy group working in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association. “We continue to urge all candidates to share their own plans for addressing this disease.”
Alzheimer’s disease currently affects more than 5 million Americans and is the sixth leading cause of death. Barring new treatments or a cure, the numbers could reach 7.1 million by 2025, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates.