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Two Potential Alzheimer’s Treatments Fail

Update Date: Jan 23, 2014 10:52 AM EST

According to a new study, two biological therapies created for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease have failed. The therapies were supposed to help remove the sticky plaques that develop in the brains of dementia patients. The clinical trial concluded that the drugs, solanezumab and bapineuzumab were ineffective in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's for patients diagnosed with mild to moderate forms of the disease.

The drugs, solanezumab and bapineuzumab, are monoclonal antibodies that were created to bind to beta-amyloid deposits found in the brains of patients with the degenerative disorder. After binding to the deposits, the drugs ideally should have encouraged the removal of the deposits. In earlier trials, both drug yielded positive results, which made the manufacturers believe that they were headed straight for FDA (Food and Drug Administration) review. However, the findings from the late stage clinical trials reveal the need for more work.

After the latest results, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have decided to stop the development of bapineuzumab. The trial revealed that even though the drug reduced amyloid plaques in the brains of people with a developed version of the disease, the reduction was not significant enough to improve symptoms of the disease.

On the other hand, Solanezumab, which is manufactured by Eli Lilly, has entered a new and larger trial. The focus of the trial will be the drug's effect on newly diagnosed patients with mild Alzheimer's. The results from the late stage clinical trial suggested that solanezumab has the potential to help those with early signs of the disease.

"Overall, I think these studies suggest that anti-amyloid interventions may need to be administered early in the disease," study co-author, Dr. Paul Aisen, an Alzheimer's researcher from the University of California, San Diego, said according to the Los Angeles Times.

Alzheimer's researcher at the University of Southern California (UCD), Dr. Lon Schneider added, "The studies are what they are. They show disappointing results. But there's a good amount to learn from them."

The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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