Tag Archives: NIH

Federal Budget Updates Related to Down Syndrome Research

Our Dr. Harpold stays closely connected to and works in the world of research, not only Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, but also relevant research endeavors at a broad scale. Here’s his take on the Federal 2016 Omnibus Budget Bill.

By Dr. Michael Harpold, LuMind RDS Chief Scientific Officer

The just enacted Federal 2016 Omnibus Budget Bill, which includes a $2 billion increase for NIH, represents significantly good news for advancing biomedical research including Down syndrome research.

Over approximately the past decade, the budget for NIH has remained essentially flat, translating to a more than 25% decline in actual NIH “research-buying” power. This has made securing funding for NIH research grants by researchers extremely difficult and, closer to home, created significant challenges in gaining increased NIH funding dedicated to Down syndrome research.

This newly enacted increase in NIH funding will enable funding for more NIH grants as well as significantly increased funding to address Alzheimer’s disease… all potentially good news for Down syndrome research.

In addition to work focused on NIH funding for Down syndrome throughout this year, LuMind RDS contributed to a recent final push for this increased funding, especially Alzheimer’s disease research, through our continuing membership and work together with Leaders Engaged in Alzheimer’s Disease leveraging together 80 member organizations, as a signatory on advocacy letters, which also specifically included Down syndrome reference, to the respective US House and Senate Appropriations committees’ leadership.

Among other important relevant appropriations in this new Federal budget:

  • National Institutes on Aging (NIA) Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research funding will increase to $936 million, a $350 million, or almost 60%, increase above Fiscal Year 2015
  • NIA’s overall funding will increase by $400 million, more than 85% of that for dementia
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) will have 3.5 million for its Alzheimer’s Disease (brain health) program, and
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) funding will increase 5%, roughly $90-100 million more than House and Senate appropriators passed earlier this year.

Thank you for the momentum you’ve helped to create to bring the importance of increasing funding for all types of research to the attention of the government.

Please consider continuing to show your support for Down syndrome research with a donation during our Annual Appeal.

Clinton Campaign Announces Investment Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease

LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation applauds the development and announcement by the Clinton presidential campaign of a formal plan for new investment to prevent, treat, and make an Alzheimer’s disease cure possible by 2025, which includes a commitment to reach the $2 billion annual funding level for NIH’s dementia research. You can read more details on Clinton’s announced plan in the following article.

We join with many of our other colleagues and partners in the Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease communities in encouraging all of the presidential campaigns to develop and support formal proposals for advancing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research.

This research is especially important for individuals with Down syndrome since virtually all develop the brain characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease earlier, by their 40’s, and the majority subsequently progress to earlier onset of the associated dementia. In November, NIH announced significant new grant awards to find Alzheimer’s biomarkers in Down syndrome.

LuMind RDS is the leading source of private funding for Down syndrome cognition research, including funding initiatives to identify and develop effective new therapies to prevent and halt the progression of the earlier onset Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome and help avoid the loss of gains they achieve throughout their lives. If you would like to support this research, please consider a donation during our Annual Appeal.

NIH supports new studies to find Alzheimer’s biomarkers in Down syndrome

The National Institutes of Health announced a groundbreaking initiative to track dementia onset and the progress of Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome.

The studies will be funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), both part of NIH.

“We are very excited and grateful that the NIH Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease in Adults with Down Syndrome Initiative has now been established with funding by the National Institute on Aging and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development,” said Dr. Michael Harpold LuMind RDS Chief Scientific Officer.

This initiative represents one of the major recommendations deriving from the 2013 NIH Workshop “Advancing Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease in Individuals with Down Syndrome” with the participation, co-sponsorship and co-support by the LuMind RDS Foundation. This recommendation was also subsequently incorporated into the Federal National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.

“This is an extremely important and much needed research initiative to more deeply understand the earlier onset and course of Alzheimer’s disease in individuals with Down syndrome, and the results from this new five year research initiative will also be important in further accelerating clinical trials to develop effective new therapies,” said Dr. Harpold.

View the full press release from NIH here.

21st Century Cures Act Passes in US House – What It Means for Down Syndrome Research

By Dr. Michael Harpold, LuMind RDS Chief Scientific Officer

US_Capitol_SouthThe 21st Century Cures Act, originating and developed out of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been working its way through to a vote in the US House of Representatives. LuMind RDS signed the letter of support organized by National Health Council, in conjunction with our membership with the LEAD Coalition (Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease), which had more than 250 organizations as signatories.

Prior to the vote on the overall Bill in the House of Representatives, there was a problematic “Brat et al. amendment” that had been introduced which would have jeopardized the increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided in the Bill as well as the wide bipartisan support. Through the National Health Council/United for Medical Research, LuMind RDS, along with more than 270 other organizations, signed on in opposition to the “Brat amendment” (http://www.no2brat.com/).

I am quite pleased to update that Friday July 10, 2015, the 21st Century Cures Act passed the US House by 344-77, and the “Brat et al amendment” was defeated by vote of 141-281. Among other aspects that are important for Down syndrome, the Bill increases NIH’s budget by additional $8.75 billion over five years. 

This is good news because the flat (in actuality, significantly declining in real dollars) NIH budget over the past five years or so has had a major impact in reducing the number and size of NIH research grants. The increased funding should increase overall NIH grant applications’ funding success and increased numbers of NIH grants, including hopefully more grants for Down syndrome research.

But before that increase is realized, the Bill needs to now make its way through and pass the Senate… which will be an additional effort for continuing support from the Down syndrome community.

Dr. Harpold at the NIH Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2015

We appreciate Dr. Michael Harpold for being such a road warrior on behalf of the Down syndrome community.

On February 9-10, 2015, Dr. Harpold, LuMind Foundation’s Chief Scientific Officer, attended the biennial NIH Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2015, a major forum for the dynamic development of coordinated Alzheimer’s disease research efforts under the Congressionally-mandated National Alzheimer’s Plan.

As stated on the NIH website, the central goal of the AD Research Summit 2015 is to continue the development of an integrated multidisciplinary research agenda necessary to address critical knowledge gaps and accelerate the discovery and delivery of efficacious treatments for AD patients at all stages of disease.

Attending this conference provides an additional major forum to increase support and advocacy for greater inclusion of research on Alzheimer’s disease in individuals with Down syndrome and its contributions to a deeper understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and the development of effective new therapeutics, not only for individuals with Down syndrome, but everyone.

For more information about the summit including access to webcasts of the two-day event, please visit the NIH website.

Dr. Harpold Quoted in Education Week Articles on Down Syndrome Research

Education Week HeaderEducation WeekLuMind Foundation’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Michael Harpold, was quoted in an article by Education Week on the NIH Down Syndrome Research report.

In the article, titled “NIH Resets Study Plans for Down Syndrome,” author Sarah Sparks summarizes the seven-year research plan, including discussing a greater focus on students in educational settings.

Dr. Harpold is quoted on the report illustrating an emphasis on improving cognition and the interrelationships between educational approaches and research areas. He also acknowledges that funding for research endeavors is a critical factor in progressing research.

Read more comments by Dr. Harpold on NIH’s research plan and read the entire Education Week article here.

Dr. Harpold was also quoted in another article, also on Education Week, discussing DS-Connect, the Down syndrome registry. Read that article here.

 

 

 

DS-Connect® Challenge Impact: A Look at the Map

At LuMind Foundation, we bring light to the science of Down syndrome cognition research. Thanks to to the amazing support for LuMind Foundation’s DS-Connect® Challenge, hundreds of you brought a glow to the DS-Connect® map!

DS Connect Map November 2014.jpg

The DS-Connect® Map on November 12, 2014 (courtesy NIH).

On the map of the major metropolitan areas where aggregate, de-identified information is displayed, six areas now glow bright red. A big shout-out to our friends in Texas who shifted from yellow to red, indicating more than 100 people support research.

Don’t see your area glowing red or yellow? That’s because the registry protects your privacy and is only displaying the major metropolitan areas. Your information is still there!

“We are thrilled with the response to the LuMind Challenge and the positive impact that it has had on increasing the number of registrants on DS-Connect®. We are grateful for all the families who have signed up for the registry and hope that they will continue to support research in Down syndrome. This resource will help connect families with the research that matters to them,” said Dr. Melissa A. Parisi, Chief of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Thank you to the NIH and all the people who joined DS-Connect® in October, or earlier or just helped to spread the word!