Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2016;5(4):238-243. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2016.01037)
The Government's role in regulating, coordinating, and standardizing the response to Alzheimer's disease: Anticipated international cooperation in the area of intractable and rare diseases.
Tang Q, Song PP, Xu LZ
The World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized that aging of the population is inextricably linked to many other global public health issues, such as universal health coverage, non-communicable diseases, and disability. However, Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) estimates that 46.8 million elderly people worldwide were living with dementia in 2015. Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases and is the main cause of cognitive impairment. AD will affect 5-7 out of every 100 older adults who are age 60 years or over. In response to the serious challenge posed by AD, governments are expected to play an important role in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of AD. As specific examples, i) the Japanese Government has instituted and supported regulations to encourage the development of AD drugs in order to accelerate research and development of innovative drugs; ii) the United States Government has cooperated with multiple partners such as non-governmental organizations in the response to AD; iii) Chinese governmental measures have standardized clinical diagnosis and treatment as part of the response to AD, including eligible patients, diagnostic criteria, therapeutic schedules, drug selection, and required inspections; iv) with political support from member governments, the European Union has issued guidelines and conducted clinical studies on medicines for the treatment of AD in order to ascertain the various stages of the disease and the relevance of biomarkers. AD is an intractable disease, so different countries need to share clinic trial information and cooperate in the conduct of those trials. International cooperation will play a key role in the response to other intractable and rare diseases.