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Alzheimer's Challenge 2012: Seeking New Tools To Help Improve Alzheimer's Care
Pfizer together with its collaborator on the Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program (AIP), Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy, and the Geoffrey Beene Gives Back Alzheimer's Initiative today introduced on January 26 the "Alzheimer's Challenge 2012" at the Care Innovations Summit in Washington, D.C. The "Alzheimer's Challenge 2012" calls for inventive concepts to help improve the diagnostic identification and tracking of Alzheimer's disease and will provide cash prizes for the best submissions.
Specifically, the Challenge seeks the development of simple, cost-effective, consistent tools that could be easily used to assess memory, mood, thinking and activity level over time to help improve diagnosis and monitoring of people with Alzheimer's disease. Today, easy to use, reliable, objective and cost-efficient methods to track and monitor Alzheimer's disease — which is not a normal part of aging — remain an unmet need. The Alzheimer's Challenge 2012 supports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) call to harness new thinking to deliver better care and better health at lower cost and provides an entrepreneurial springboard to harness new thinking and approaches to improve Alzheimer's care.
"Each person diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease experiences its devastating impact differently," said Michael Williams, Vice President, Primary Care Business Unit, on behalf of the Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program. "We hope meeting our Challenge may help improve the individual experiences of people living with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers. This could be a huge step to advance the global fight against Alzheimer's and other dementias."
The Challenge provides awards totaling $300,000, including $25,000 to five finalists and a $175,000 grand prize to one winner. The deadline for submission of concepts is March 16, 2012 and a complete Challenge description, official rules, including prizes, judging criteria and timelines are available on the Challenge's website www.alzheimerschallenge2012.com.
"The organizations presenting challenges here today are pushing the best minds in the country to create a better health care system. They represent exciting solutions to help address some of the Nation's most urgent health needs," said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.
"We believe someone out there has the answer and shares our sense of urgency. The Alzheimer's Challenge 2012 is open to problem-solvers and we encourage anyone and everyone who thinks they have a creative solution to step up, submit an entry, and be recognized," said Meryl Comer, president of The Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative. Chairman of the Initiative, George Vradenburg, also representing USAgainstAlzheimers on the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA), adds, "We are pleased to partner with the AIP in making this Challenge and are grateful for the continuing leadership of HHS Secretary Sebelius in focusing a broad-based national effort to address Alzheimer's."
Following the March 16, 2012 submission deadline, five finalists will be selected and announced by April 16, 2012. Each finalist will be awarded $25,000. Concept refinement will be completed by mid June 2012 with finalist presentations to follow. The winner of the Challenge will be announced at the end of June 2012 and awarded a $175,000 prize. Judges will be drawn from experts in the Alzheimer's community and other related fields. More information is available at www.alzheimerschallenge2012.com.
The Need for Better Tools to Track Alzheimer's Disease For many chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, there are simple, reliable, objective methods for tracking progression. Similar tools are generally not available for Alzheimer's disease. However, there are accurate and reliable cognitive tests to help diagnose the disease. Other challenges still remain in the diagnosis of and ongoing care for people with Alzheimer's disease. It is believed that as many as 50 percent of people living with dementia in high income countries such as the United States have not received a formal diagnosis. Once diagnosed, patients, their caregivers and healthcare providers need a better way to track and monitor the patient's condition over time.
The Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer is an equal collaboration committed to researching and developing selective products for the treatment and/or prevention of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer's disease. The Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program believes that it is possible to reduce the burden of disease through early intervention in the illness. It is dedicated to delivering comprehensive and integrated solutions that help address the needs of people impacted by Alzheimer's disease. Its research focuses on the beta amyloid hypothesis. Scientific evidence supports the idea that preventing the accumulation and/or promoting the removal of beta-amyloid may have the potential to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and help preserve function in people with the disease. This theory is being tested in clinical trials.
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