Despite the devastating toll of Alzheimer’s disease on patients and families, and the potential for its costs to bankrupt the medical system, research into AD has been stymied. The last time a drug was specifically approved for AD was in 2003.
According to current projections, AD will overwhelm the national healthcare system by 2050, affecting 16 million Americans and costing Medicare and Medicaid $1.1 trillion. In the wake of numerous failed clinical trials over the past decade, several large pharmaceutical companies have shuttered their AD research programs, creating a sense of hopelessness.
But for the very reasons that Big Pharma has retreated, California has an opportunity to lead the effort to stop AD. Historically, the state has not hesitated to pursue grand challenges. With the organizational structure, financial clout, technological resources, biomedical expertise, and political will of the world’s fifth largest economy, California is the ideal venue for taking on AD.