By Dr. Deborah Dunsire, M.D. President and CEO of FORUM Pharmaceuticals Inc.
The statistics are staggering . . . in the U.S. alone, more than five million people have Alzheimer’s disease. In only 10 years, by 2025, that number is expected to reach 7.1 million, an increase of 40 percent. The numbers may be overwhelming, but they fail to communicate the emotional, mental and physical burdens that Alzheimer’s disease imposes upon patients, loved ones and care givers. Alzheimer’s disease affects each of us, whether through family, friends, colleagues, customers or our community. It robs patients of the ability to function effectively, to act independently, to remember life’s greatest joys and the faces of loved ones and to communicate with families and friends. It saps caregivers who selflessly put aside jobs, careers, relationships and even personal health to care for their loved ones.
There is not yet a cure, and developing new treatments for Alzheimer’s, the sixth leading cause of death for those over age 65, is difficult and costly. The disease continues to take its toll, but I believe that hope is on the horizon and that we are entering an exciting new phase in drug development for serious brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Increased understanding of neurological disease mechanisms at the molecular level and effective collaboration between industry, academia, clinicians and policy makers can drive our success.
Our greater Boston area is fortunate in the wealth of resources that we have available in our quest to defeat Alzheimer’s disease. We stand at the forefront of innovation and state-of-the-art care, with some of the world’s foremost academic institutions and hospitals right in our backyard. We have local companies who are seeking solutions. At FORUM Pharmaceuticals, we focus solely on overcoming serious brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and I daily witness our company’s relentless research and development efforts for new therapies. FORUM is joined by local biotech and pharmaceutical organizations that range from well-established commercialized organizations to emerging start-up’s, all of which are also generating awareness and bringing forward new approaches to defeat Alzheimer’s disease.
There is one key partner and resource that all of us share, whether we be in industry, academia, clinical institutions, or whether we be patients and families. The Alzheimer’s Association, the leading nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, is committed to a vision of a world without Alzheimer’s. FORUM shares the Alzheimer’s Association’s vision for a world free of this devastating disease and we are proud to be named the 2015 Corporate Champion by the Alzheimer’s Association’s Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter.
The Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association serves more than 142,000 families each year, providing information and referrals, support groups, care consultation, education and safety services, and a 24/7 helpline, all provided to families free of charge. Its annual Hope on the Harbor event brings together corporations, families and foundations to work towards a world without Alzheimer’s disease, and to honor champions who exemplify its mission in action: Care, Support and Research. The 3rd Annual Hope on the Harbor celebration is being held on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse on the Boston Waterfront. For more information or to contribute to the cause, please visit http://alzmass.org/harbor/.
At FORUM Pharmaceuticals, we believe that “Every Mind Matters.” Through the dedicated efforts of our local community and the Alzheimer’s Association, we can, and we will, turn the tide on Alzheimer’s disease.
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