Assuming that the results from studies likely to be released this week turns out to be positive, this could well be a weak that could be difficult to forget. Biogen and Eli Lilly are particularly in focus. Eli Lilly is expected to soon unveil results from a clinical trial of a drug that could signal whether it can overturn the negative studies earlier and rise to the position of the first treatment to be marketed for slowing down the progression of the underlying disease.
Some 5 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s, but as we know, it has proved to be a tough case for the drug markers to find a solution since scientists have not completely deciphered its causes. Several experimental drugs that held promises initially were scrapped after they failed to show any significant slowing in deterioration of memory and other cognitive or daily living skills for patients during the clinical trials.
However, one of the leading theories is that the buildup of amyloid, a sticky protein in the brain contributes to this disease. Solanezumab, the Lilly drug is intravenously infused and is focused on binding the amyloid and eliminate it from the brain, according to scientists. But the project is attendant with risks since most of the other drugs that targeted amyloid lead to negative results from earlier trials.
Yet, the optimism has not died down and according to the director of Center for Alzheimer’s Research at the Harvard Medical School, Reisa Sperling, this year is a different story since multiple mechanisms are explored and the revival of faith has been tremendous with regard to the anti-amyloid approach.
In 2012, the Lilly drug failed in significantly slowing down the decline of cognition as well as functional abilities among the patients who had mild to moderate Alzheimer’s compared to a placebo from the two large clinical trials that were reported. However, the drug hinted at slowing of cognitive decline in one of the sub groups where patients had a milder form of the ailment. Lilly is now targeting this sub group.
The results expected this week constitute an extension of studies that were reported in 2012. Lilly also continued giving the drug to some of the patients who had received it during the original studies and allowed the patients who had originally received the placebo during those studies to receive solanezumab, according to the researchers.