By Hailey Chung
The L.A. times reported the findings from a clinical trial first published in the New England Journal of Medicine concerning two bioengineered medications – solanezumab and bapineuzumab. Both therapies were designed to “bind to beta-amyloid deposits in the brain and promote their removal.” Both medications proved promising in early animal studies, but subsequent clinical trials in patients with mild to moderate forms of the disease produced substandard results.
However, Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical corporation developing solanezumab, is still optimistic.
From the article:
“The company has launched a new and larger trial of the therapy, but shifted its focus to people newly diagnosed with mild Alzheimer’s. In dissecting the data yielded by the trial published Wednesday, Lilly found evidence that subjects whose Alzheimer’s symptoms were just becoming evident may have benefited from solanezumab. The pharmaceutical giant hopes that a larger trial of those with the early stages of the disease will bear that hope out.
Dr. Paul Aisen, a UC San Diego Alzheimer’s researcher who was a co-author of the study on solanezumab, said that while the results of both studies were disappointing, they did shed some light on what it will take to change the course of Alzheimer’s in patients.”
It is important to remember that while these results proved disappointing, there are still lessons to be learned regarding what future medications should target and when they should be taken. Researchers and experts on Alzheimer’s seem to agree that new medications are at least taking the correct approach by targeting the amyloid plaques before the disease fully established itself in the brain. Trials like these seem to illustrate that prevention or at least early interventions may be the most effective since the disease most likely originates in the brain long before a person begins showing symptoms. So while the results from these tests are disappointing, they should not be discouraging as these trials represent just another stepping stone in the continued fight against Alzheimer’s.
Read the article here.