World Alzheimer's Month 2016

Today's post is written by Andrew Hotchkiss, President, Europe and Canada, Eli Lilly and Company.

We may be just about to turn a page in the story of Alzheimer’s disease.

Hopefully not too far in the distance, there’s the possibility of real breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s treatment and care. The global Alzheimer’s community has a number of new generation molecules under development that may alter the underlying disease process – a true milestone, since currently Alzheimer’s cannot be prevented, slowed or cured.

For our part, here at Lilly we’ve committed over 28 years to progressing Alzheimer’s research, in our own labs and together with a number of private and public sector organisations, the non-profit community and academia

At the same time, as technological innovation assists us in diagnosing and addressing the illness earlier, we need to make sure that healthcare systems are ready to provide patients with the right care, and at the right time. Europe is in a time of demographic change, and ageing populations will grow the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. Estimates predict a rise of dementia patients from 8.7 million to 9 million by 2030. Without the appropriate polices in place, we cannot take on incoming public health and welfare challenges.

Thankfully, we are in a period of unprecedented political action against Alzheimer’s. In December of 2013, the G7 launched a global commitment to identify a cure or disease-modifying therapy for dementia by 2025. Since then, the three most recent presidencies of the European Council have invited Member States to address dementia through much needed national strategies and action plans.

Underpinning so many of these scientific and political wins are the efforts of patients, families, and carers through their active engagement in the fight against this disease.

What’s clear is that no single group of people can fight Alzheimer’s alone. That is why this World Alzheimer’s Month, we’re giving the floor to contributors from the Alzheimer’s community in Europe and beyond. Stay tuned to LillyPadEU through September for a series of guest blogs on what it means to be “Alzheimer’s ready”.