Trials of a once-promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease have been scrapped by two pharmaceutical giants after clinical results showed that the drug wasn’t working.
Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson announced late Monday that they were ending human trials of the drug bapineuzumab.
The drug, which was tailored to moderately to severely afflicted victims of a certain genotype, had raised hopes because it purported to work on the cause of Alzheimer’s and not just its ravages.
Bapineuzumab had been designed to block the buildup of beta amyloid protein plaques in patients without the genotype APOE4.
But the drug didn’t meet its endpoints for cognitive and functional performance in its patients, the companies said. So it’s back to the drawing board for researchers—and the millions of Alzheimer’s sufferers.
“We are obviously very disappointed in the outcomes of this trial,” Pfizer Senior Vice President Steven Romano said in a news release on the company’s website. “We are also saddened by the lost opportunity to provide a meaningful advance for patients afflicted with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.”
Eric Hall, president and chief executive officer of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, said he hoped that the latest setback will only act as a challenge and that scientists, political leaders, and families will redouble their efforts to find a way out of the Alzheimer’s labyrinth.
“There is no doubt that each promising clinical trial that fails to materialize dashes hopes,” Hall said in a news release sent by a spokeswoman. “But this disappointment also re-emphasizes the need to rally around this public health crisis.
“Scientists need to keep going,” he added, “and research dollars as well as participation in clinical trials must increase to align with the escalating scope of this disease. Moreover, funding and enhancement of care-related programs and services must become a priority to address immediate direct care needs. Now is the time for all of us to press forward to ensure that advances related to both cure and care come to the rescue of families worldwide.”
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