The views of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Alzheimer’s research are important in and of themselves but also, perhaps, as a sign of their positions on medical research generally.

As the 2016 presidential election draws nearer, and because I write on life sciences and medical research for Bloomberg BNA, I tried to focus on a topic that might provide insights into both candidates’ approaches in this important public health arena.

Both candidates have made commitments to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research.

In addition to this unanimity, the topic is important because there is no cure for Alzheimer’s and every drug approved to treat it between 1998 and 2011 has been unsuccessful in preventing, curing or consistently reducing the disease’s symptoms.

Companies like Eli Lilly and Co., Biogen Inc., AbbVie, Merck, Roche Holding Ltd., Johnson & Johnson and others are actively involved in finding a treatment. But it has been an uphill battle, with some approaches targeting amyloid, a protein that clumps in the brain of Alzheimer's patients, and others targeting tau, an aberrant protein that spreads through the brain as Alzheimer’s progresses.

Clinton’s commitment was in the form of a $20 billion plan to find a cure for Alzheimer’s by 2025. Trump’s was in a statement, but I knew that he, like me, had lost a loved one to the disease. In his case it was his father.

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