What recent failures in drug trials can teach us about fighting Alzheimer’s

(AP) Two experimental drugs failed to prevent or slow mental decline in a study of people who are virtually destined to develop Alzheimer’s disease at a relatively young age because they inherited rare gene flaws.

The results announced at the beginning of this month are another disappointment for the approach that scientists have focused on for years — trying to remove a harmful protein that builds up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, the leading cause of dementia.

“We actually don’t even know yet what the drugs did” in term of removing that protein because those results are still being analyzed, said study leader Dr. Randall Bateman at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

But after five years on average, the main goal of the study was not met — people on either of the drugs scored about the same on thinking and memory tests as others given placebo treatments.

More than 5 million people in the United States and millions more worldwide have Alzheimer’s. Current drugs only temporarily ease symptoms and do not alter the course of the disease.

Dan Sewell, Co-Director, Memory, Aging and Resilience Clinic & Professor of Psychiatry, UC San Diego Health, was in studio to tell us more about what the future holds in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

For more info: www.alz.org/sandiego

Categories: Health, In Studio Guests, Local San Diego News