Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Funding Research

One of the goals for Dementia Be Damned is to share with you information about research being done on Alzheimer's Disease.  Around the world, scientists are working to identify the causes of the disease and create treatments which are actually effective.  They're not volunteering their time.  The work that they're doing is complex and requires many resources in people, instruments and time.  This means that Alzheimer's research is expensive.  Funding for the research comes from different sources.

Large pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly and Merck have an interest in investing in this research.  If they fund the research that leads to a successful treatment, they have rights to that drug for years to come.  The ever growing number of Alzheimer's patients means that many more who could benefit from an effective drug and increase the company's profit from its sale.

Government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Aging provide financial awards and grants to applicants who successfully petition for available funds.  The funds are limited and the NIH is not able to fund each submitted research proposal.

Another source of funding is through non-profit organizations or private foundations.  The Alzheimer's Association is a non-profit organization that provides research grants in the hope that a cure may be found.  When you give a donation or collect sponsorships to support an awareness walk, you're providing funds to the association that they use to make those grants.

The foundations are usually the result of a a small group of individuals who pool their resources to start an organization which works to solve a very narrow set of problems.  In this case, it is finding a cure for Alzheimer's.  While these foundations have a philanthropist or two at their core, they, of course, solicit more from potential donors to expand their funding potential.  One such private foundation is the Cure Alzheimer's Fund which uses a venture capital approach to funding research.   This approach funds immediate research needs and does not grow an endowment or off-set budgetary expenses at a university.  Such an approach lends itself to higher risk research in the hopes of faster results.

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