In his recent visit to NIH, Dr. Abdallah
Daar warned of the approaching global epidemic of chronic, non-communicable
NIH support is growing to combat conditions
such as cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death in Africa.
Support is growing at NIH to find ways to battle
the predicted global epidemic in chronic, non-communicable diseases, forecast to cause some 388 million deaths worldwide in the next decade.
The Fogarty International Center has been conducting
outreach to other institutes and centers to identify ways to leverage the considerable existing expertise to combat chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and cancer that are increasingly striking populations
in the developing world.
A recent Nature article, “Grand Challenges in Chronic and Non-Communicable Diseases,” whose authors included FIC director Dr. Roger Glass and NHLBI director Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, helped galvanize the effort.
To foster continued dialogue on the topic, Fogarty
recently hosted the paper’s lead author, Dr. Abdallah Daar of the McLaughlin-Rotman Center for Global Health, for a series of discussions
and presentations. In addition to consulting
with Nabel and NHLBI staff, he met with NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni, NIDDK director
Dr. Griffin Rodgers and NINDS director Dr. Story Landis.
“We are encouraged that by working together with NIH partners and outside collaborators, we can transfer proven intervention strategies
that can be adapted and implemented to suit the populations of developing countries,” said Glass.
Daar called for a coordinated research strategy similar to the Human Genome Project in order to halt the approaching global epidemic in non-communicable diseases.
“We must move away from the notion that nothing can be done, and that people only have themselves and their unhealthy lifestyles to blame. These myths and misconceptions are part of the reason why people don’t get involved,” he said. “The problems are complex and difficult to solve, but it is feasible.”
Supporting research collaborations that will stem the tide of preventable deaths from non-communicable diseases in the developing world is one of five goals detailed in Fogarty’s new strategic plan, set to be published shortly.
“While we must continue our research and training efforts in infectious diseases, we cannot
ignore the terrible toll that chronic conditions
such as diabetes and cancer will claim in human lives over the next decade if we do not act now,” said Glass.
The full text of the Nature article is available at www.nature.com/nature/journal/v450/n7169/full/450494a.html.