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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
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Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Glimmer of a Silver Lining in Latest Alzheimer's Trial
24 August 2012 5:05 pm
Earlier this summer, Alzheimer's researchers got disappointing—but not entirely unexpected—news from a phase III clinical trial of bapineuzumab, an antibody that targets β amyloid, the protein fragment that forms pathological clumps in the brains of patients. Bapineuzumab failed to improve cognition in two large trials of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Today, Eli Lilly and Company announced slightly more encouraging results from another closely watched trial, for an anti-amyloid antibody called solanezumab.
First the bad news: Solanezumab failed to slow cognitive decline in two trials with more than 2000 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. However, the company says in a statement, a secondary analysis of data from the mild Alzheimer's patients enrolled in both trials indicated that the drug did slow cognitive decline in this subgroup. A similar analysis of the moderate Alzheimer’s patients in both trials showed no effect. Lilly says its plans for solanezumab are still undecided, pending discussions with regulators, but it will continue an open-label extension study in which patients from the two recently completed trials can continue to take the drug.
"We see hopeful and encouraging information here," says Maria Carrillo, senior director of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer's Association. So far, Lilly has released only preliminary findings, but Carrillo says they appear to be the best evidence yet that anti-amyloid therapy can slow cognitive decline in some patients.
Pharmaceutical companies have invested heavily in anti-amyloid therapies, with largely disappointing results in clinical trials. But many researchers now believe these trials have failed because the drugs were given to patients whose disease was already too advanced. In recent years, it has become clear that amyloid begins accumulating in the brain decades before memory loss and other symptoms appear. Intervening at earlier stages of the disease may be a better strategy. Three clinical trials expected to begin next year will test this idea by giving anti-amyloid therapies to people who are at risk of Alzheimer’s but have yet to develop symptoms.