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Alzheimer's drug fails two clinical trials

Alzheimer's drug fails two clinical trials
8th August 2012

A promising new drug to treat Alzheimer's disease has had its development stopped after failing two late-stage clinical trials.

The medication, known as bapineuzumab, was designed by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson to stop plaques from building up on the brain.

However, when compared against a placebo, it failed to improve cognitive function or physical performance in certain patients during trials.

The drug was tested on participants that possessed a gene known to increase Alzheimer's risk, but it was found that subjects exhibited the same results using bapineuzumab as those without the gene.

However, Johnson and Johnson claim that research will still continue into the efficacy of the drug as a subcutaneous (under the skin) treatment.

Nevertheless, the outlook isn't expected to be positive, as it has been speculated that the medication will encounter failure because it is treating people that already have damage to the brain.

There had been predictions that the IV studies of bapineuzumbab would fail, as they were treating people who had already suffered damage to the brain.

Chief scientific officer of the Alzheimer's Association, William Thies, told Reuters: "One of the strong thoughts in the field is that you really have to treat people before they become demented."

The search for other drugs to prevent plaque formation in the brain is still ongoing.

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