21 September is World Alzheimer's Day (Guest blog)
My grandmother died aged 93, having lived a long, fulfilled life. She was my first touch point with dementia. As she aged, her short-term memory deteriorated. She couldn’t remember things that had happened the day or week before, yet could remember things that had happened over 70 years ago, with the smallest of details. This decline was obviously sad to witness, but I was also fascinated by the process. I wanted to understand why she was losing her short-term memory and not her long-term memory.
While what my grandmother experienced was a general cognitive decline due to ageing, other forms of dementia can be more debilitating and devastating. In addition to the profound impact that Alzheimer’s has on peoples’ quality of life, it is also the third leading cause of mortality in people over 65, behind cancer and heart disease. Subtle neurological changes may occur years or even decades before symptoms present themselves.
Today there are still no treatments available to prevent, delay or stop the disease progression, which makes the necessity of addressing this unmet need all the more pertinent. Here at Biogen, we are building a team across functions and geographies, with the vision of being able to bring new hope to Alzheimer’s patients and the people who care for them.
Every company speaks about patient-centricity, but at Biogen, we live and breathe this philosophy. We dedicate ourselves to tackling difficult, high-risk areas where there is still a very high unmet medical need because we believe that a diagnosis should not be a life sentence, and that everyone deserves to live healthy, fulfilling lives. We pride ourselves on being pioneers in neuroscience and don’t shy away from delving further into the unknown if there is any potential to make a positive difference to peoples’ lives.
Before joining the Alzheimer’s team, I worked on Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a rare disease with a huge unmet need. Building a cross-functional team that worked cohesively and passionately was highly rewarding. We were driven by our common goal to serve and empower SMA patients and their families. Through our innovative work and tireless efforts, there is now hope for this community where there was once no hope. I’m lucky that I’ve been given this opportunity and challenge twice: first with SMA and now with Alzheimer’s.
#WeWontRest in our mission to bring new hope to patients affected by devastating diseases with a high unmet medical need.