Giving Compass' Take:

• Kirstie Keller argues that the rising prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease requires intervention by policymakers and philanthropists alike. 

• How can funders best address the gaps in Alzheimer’s research and treatment? Who needs the most support to cope with this illness? 

• Find out why finding a cure for Alzheimer’s is only the first step

Alzheimer’s disease is a true epidemic with rising prevalence, skyrocketing costs, and an absence of treatments. Yet, research in this space has been massively underfunded. For example, cancer research has historically received ten times more government funding than Alzheimer's, even though it cost the U.S. approximately 50 percent less in direct medical costs and led to a similar number of deaths.

Now for the good news. The Alzheimer’s Accountability Act, which was passed with bipartisan support in 2015, introduced a national goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. This act dramatically increased federal spending — calling for an additional $350+ million per year — on Alzheimer’s research. Additionally, the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) infrastructure bill, which aims to build centers of excellence to support AD research and distribute funding, was introduced this month in the House with bipartisan support. The $350 million increase and focus on infrastructure is a good start. But it is only a start.

While federal funding may finally be catching up, there are still not enough resources in place to offset the realities of our future. To change the game, we need new thinking and bold breakthroughs. To this end, philanthropic capital has been stepping up to fill the void.

Read the full article about how to address the growing Alzheimer's disease epidemic by Kirstie Keller at LinkedIn.