Obama administration announces $156 million to combat Alzheimer's

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"Today's announcement reflects this administration's commitment to confronting Alzheimer's, a disease that takes a devastating toll on millions of Americans," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusObama cabinet official: Clinton White House doubled down on 'abusive behavior' John Roberts has tough job of keeping faith in Supreme Court Price was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue MORE said in a statement. "We can't wait to act; reducing the burden of Alzheimer's disease on patients and their families is an urgent national priority."

More than 5 million Americans suffer from the debilitating disease, a number that's on track to double by 2050 as the population ages. 

Rep. Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyNet neutrality supporters predict tough court battle over FCC's repeal plan Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Driverless car bill hits Senate speed bump MORE (D-Mass.), sponsor of the National Alzheimer's Project Act that was enacted last year, applauded the announcement.

"The urgency of the Alzheimer's pandemic demands immediate action, and today's announcement … heralds vital progress in our nation's commitment to curing this devastating disease," Markey said. "President Obama signaled this commitment last year when he signed the National Alzheimer's Project Act into law, and HHS has been both thoughtful and aggressive in its development of a national plan."

Markey also used the occasion to press for passage of bipartisan legislation he said would "spur innovation in research and drug development for high-cost, chronic health conditions such as Alzheimer's." The Spending Reductions through Innovations in Therapies (SPRINT) Act was introduced in the House and Senate last week.