Pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lily announced disappointing news that its new Alzheimer’s drug failed its third and apparently final test phase. The drug, tentatively named Solanezumab had shown promising results in the first two test trials, but failed to show any gain for improving or arresting the deadly disease in the third trial.
Worse, researchers worldwide are now questioning if most of the current work being conducted is on the right track. Virtually all Alzheimer’s research is aimed at removing or preventing the accumulation of amyloid buildup in the brain in order to stall or block some of the symptoms of dementia. “It’s not going to be disease-modifying therapy for mild patients, so that’s heartbreaking,” said Dave Ricks, the incoming president and chief executive of Eli Lilly.
Many Alzheimer’s experts not involved in trials who testing anti-amyloid drugs said “they were not surprised by Lilly’s results, saying they reflect an emerging scientific understanding of Alzheimer’s as a disease with a multipronged cascade of causes, including amyloid buildup”.
It now appears research will be far more focused on the time before the amyloid buildup and a diagnosis which is far more difficult and expensive. It is a longer and more difficult path to follow.