Carmel, CA New Alzheimer's Drug Bapineuzumab A Flop :<by Richard Kuehn on 08/14/12
There has been sad news on the research front. Johnson & Johnson & Pfizer Inc. announced this week that they are abandoning development on the Alzheimer's drug Bapineuzumab after poor results from a late stage trial. The drug failed to produce positive results for a group of people with the gene which makes them extremely likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. It also failed to slow memory loss in those with Alzheimer's disease which did not have the gene ApoE4. Stephen Salloway, a professor of neurology at Brown University who chaired the drug's steering committee said that it remains to be seen whether the drug can help people who have mild impairment of memory but have yet to develop Alzheimer's disease. Still, he conceded, "It looks like the data is pretty convincing that Bapineuzumab is not effective for treating mild to moderate dementia." The drug had shown in earlier trails that it could keep amyloid plaque from sticking to the brain, something which researchers felt confident was at the root cause of Alzheimer's disease. However, the study showed that although it did remove the plaques, this wasn't enough to provide a therapeutic benefit for those with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. As I have written before on my blog, it's believed that it can take 10 years or more to develop this terrible ailment, so we should not give up hope. It's possible that the participants in this study received the drug too late. "Targeting amyloid we still believe is very important. The main question is going to be how early do you need to do that," said Husseini Manji, the head of neuroscience research at Johnson & Johnson. He admitted that the results of this study were a terrible disappointment and a major setback for Alzheimer's disease, but he remains hopeful. Pfizer will take a charge of $300 to $400 million in the next quarter to write off all prospects for this drug, but the psychological damage to the families of those caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease will likely be much greater than this. Regular readers of my blog know that I am a big supporter of the Alzheimer's Association, which has a 24-hour help line at 800-272-3900. They are also the largest private supporter of Alzheimer's research in the United States. Please help them with their important mission if you can by clicking on this link for Family inHome Caregiving fundraising site for Alzheimer's Association.