Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hopes Fade for Alzheimer's Treatment Breakthrough

Results from a phase 3 clinical trial of a once-promising new medication to treat Alzheimer's disease (AD) showed that the drug failed to improve either cognition or daily functioning. Pfizer is developing the drug along with the Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy division of Johnson & Johnson. The clinical trial tested bapineuzumab in 1,100 people with mild to moderate AD, all of whom have the ApoE4 gene, which has been shown to increase the risk of developing the disease. In a July 23 press release, Pfizer said that while the company was disappointed in the results, further studies of bapineuzumab are planned, and data from a clinical trial in about 1,300 AD patients who do not carry the ApoE4 gene will be available soon. The drug is an antibody that binds to beta-amyloid in the brain—that protein is widely believed to be a cause of AD. The companies expected bapineuzumab to destroy beta-amyloid deposits. Commenting on the study results, Samuel Gandy, M.D., director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, told the New York Times that since the brain plaques likely develop years or even decades before symptoms appear, "All these symptomatic trials are 25 years too late. I'm not terribly disappointed and I'm not discouraged" by the bapineuzumab data.

Read much more about bapineuzumab and the search for an Alzheimer's treatment in Psychiatric News here and here.

(image: Molekuul.be/Shutterstock.com)


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