WASHINGTON & SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A world-class team of scientists and advocates frustrated by the inadequacy in the global scope, urgency and funding to address the massive Alzheimer’s epidemic, and the slow pace of science, joined forces and received the highest honors at the 2017 XPRIZE Visioneers Summit. The team’s bold impact proposal is designed to globally crowdsource a new 21st century approach to diagnose, treat, cure and prevent the disease.
XPRIZE, a non-profit and the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, harnesses the power of global crowdsourcing and exponential technology to tackle grand challenges. The idea of an XPRIZE competition focusing on Alzheimer’s was initially conceived in November 2012 by Age Wave visionary Ken Dychtwald, PhD, and XPRIZE Founder Dr. Peter Diamandis.
The 2017 XPRIZE Visioneers Summit, held October 5-7 in Southern California, was the culmination of months of dedicated efforts by five teams—1) Alzheimer’s, 2) Clean Air, 3) Re-imagining Democracy, 4) Zero Waste Mining, and 5) Cybersecurity—all seeking to come out on top at the XPRIZE Visioneers Summit. The teams’ Impact Proposals were reviewed and evaluated by a group of 250 prominent corporate and government leaders, top innovators, respected philanthropists, and leading entrepreneurs. The Alzheimer’s team received the highest honors and now moves forward as a top priority for an intended 2018 XPRIZE global competition.
“Our team is firmly committed to stopping this horrific disease from becoming the health, social and financial sinkhole of the 21st century,” explained Dychtwald, Founder and CEO of Age Wave, and a founding member of the Alzheimer’s XPRIZE team. Watch Dychtwald’s stirring closing night presentation.
“A big congratulations to the Alzheimer’s Disease Team for receiving the highest evaluation score at the 2017 Visioneers Summit,” said Marcus Shingles, CEO of XPRIZE. “With their collaboration, commitment, and passion, this team was able to successfully demonstrate how they would utilize the XPRIZE model and approach to achieve impact in undertaking the Alzheimer’s epidemic. We look forward to working with this team, and the broader network focused on eradicating Alzheimer’s.”
According to George Vradenburg, JD, Co-Founder and Chairman of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, and a founding member of the Alzheimer’s XPRIZE team, “With this win, we will disrupt existing practice and change the sluggish business-as-usual approach to Alzheimer’s. The earlier we detect a disease, the better our chances are of stopping it and curing it. With the XPRIZE we will employ global crowdsourcing and harness emerging technologies to unleash a new era of interventions that would have the best chance of saving millions of lives.”
The call to discover breakthrough technologies for brain health is intended to activate interest worldwide from a broad spectrum of expert and garage tinkerers alike— capitalizing on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, bio-technology, precision pharmaceuticals, physics, nutrition, gamification and brain hacking—to focus their talents and ingenuity on detecting the earliest moments of Alzheimer’s.
According to Philip Edgcumbe, PhD, a 29-year-old Canadian scientist, biomedical engineer and medical student who served as team leader for this proposal, “We hope to avert the devastation that would otherwise wreak havoc on tens of millions of people in the coming decades due to increasing longevity and the global age wave. And by so doing, unlock vast amounts of human potential.”
Ric and Jean Edelman, founders of Edelman Financial Services and founding sponsors of the Alzheimer’s team, proudly announced at the Visioneers Summit their offer to provide $25 million in funding to support the XPRIZE competition focusing on Alzheimer’s. “Jean and I are honored to offer vital funding. We have seen first-hand the devastating impact of this dreadful disease on so many of our firm's clients, and we are thrilled to support the XPRIZE Foundation and the Alzheimer's Visioneers Team so we can finally eradicate Alzheimer’s Disease,” Ric Edelman explained.
“Alzheimer’s is the biggest biomedical crisis of our lifetime,” said Maria Shriver, journalist, senior advisor to the team and the founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. “In order to wipe out this mind-blowing disease, we’re going to need brilliant, innovative, disruptive thinkers working on the frontlines. I’m confident that through this XPRIZE, we’ll be able to discover new approaches and unlock much-needed answers that will help get us closer to a cure.”
According to Lisa Genova, PhD, a Harvard-trained neuroscientist, best-selling author of Still Alice and senior advisor to the Alzheimer’s Disease team, “Launching this XPRIZE to tackle Alzheimer’s will change the world’s perception of this disease—from hopelessness that it will never be cured to a hopeful expectation that we will soon have a prevention, treatments or even a cure, much as we’ve seen with tuberculosis, typhoid, diphtheria, polio, certain cancers, HIV and heart disease.”
Check out what other experts are saying about the XPRIZE competition focusing on Alzheimer’s here.
The quest to end Alzheimer’s and match our brainspans to our longer lifespans begins now. In 2018, the XPRIZE and Alzheimer’s teams will work in concert to finalize the prize structure and operational components with the intention to launch a worldwide competition. The XPRIZE competitors will be winnowed down through rigorous evaluations, and the winning team will find an actionable way to predict the appearance of the disease with an actionable bio-target.
More than 100 other leading neuroscientists, advocates and exponential technology experts have already contributed their ideas and insights to this process, including Maria Shriver; Geoffrey Ling, MD, PhD, former Founding Director of bio-tech at DARPA; Rudi Tanzi, PhD, Professor of Neurology, Harvard University; Sir Simon Lovestone, MD, Oxford University; Reisa Sperling, MD, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Daniel Kraft, MD, Founding Executive Director, Exponential Medicine, Singularity University; Phillis Farrell, Alzheimer’s Global Leader, Eli Lilly; Rachelle Doody, Global Head of Neurodegeneration, Genentech and Roche; Luc Truyen, Global Head of Development, Neuroscience, Janssen Pharmaceuticals; and Mary Michael, VP of Advocacy, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical.