WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), architect of the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative, met last week with Amarantus, a biotechnology company on their recent efforts to develop treatment and diagnostics for degenerative brain diseases, including Alzheimer's.
At the meeting, Amarantus CEO Gerald Commissiong and CFO Robert Farrell briefed Congressman Fattah on a new agreement between the company and Georgetown University for six patent rights related to blood based biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease; the rights are currently jointly owned by Georgetown and the University of Rochester. Amarantus said that these biomarkers will be crucial in identifying at-risk individuals for Alzheimer's and the ability to test therapeutic agents that could delay or prevent the disease.
"I continue to be impressed by the advanced research happening within the neuroscience field. This new agreement is an important milestone in Alzheimer's diagnostic development with the potential to help recognize individuals who may be at-risk for Alzheimer's and ultimately develop the information necessary to better detect and diagnose the disease," Congressman Fattah said. "Through the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative, I look forward to continuing to work with public and private entities to ensure our country is focused on the research and development that will lead to breakthroughs in the field."
The briefing also highlighted the importance of genomic testing for Alzheimer's disease and the growing need for increased federal commitment to Alzheimer's research and funding. Alzheimer's disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Currently more than 5.4 million individuals are suffering from the disease—a number that is expected to increase as Americans continue to lengthen their lifespan.
Fattah, who has led Congress in efforts to increase public funding for brain research was also named as one of four co-chairs of the House Alzheimer's Disease Caucus last week.
In a release he said, "It is a privilege to join as a caucus co-chair and work within Congress to advocate for policies, research, and funding that will advance our efforts to fight Alzheimer's disease. Degenerative diseases are a top priority in the neuroscience field and the need for action on Alzheimer's grows by the day as the United States and nations around the world confront its crippling social and economic effects. I thank my fellow co-chairs for their longstanding efforts, and look forward to making more progress on this issue in the 114th Congress."
The Caucus appointment comes days after Fattah was announced to serve on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies—the body responsible for funding the National Institutes of Health. Fattah additionally serves as the lead Democrat on the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Subcommittee which funds the National Science Foundation. Through both these roles, Fattah hopes to continue pressing for heightened attention to neuroscience.
Created three years ago, the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative has sought to prioritize neuroscience in the United States, increase public-private partnerships around brain research, and expand research collaboration between countries across the globe. The Initiative is credited with forming the Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience (IWGN) housed at the White House, which was an impetus for the BRAIN Initiative. Congressman Fattah has worked with public and private organizations throughout the country in order to promote neuroscience as a federal priority and initiate groundbreaking partnerships in neuroscience research.
SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah