99.6 percent of drug trials for Alzheimer’s disease fail
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and causes memory, thinking and behavior problems. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there is no current cure, though some symptoms are treatable. However, more than 99% of drug trials for Alzheimer’s disease during the past decade have failed, according to a study.
Scientists at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health shared an alarming message in the July 3 issue of the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy: We’re not doing enough to develop drugs to battle Alzheimer’s disease.
“We’re looking forward from 5.5 million victims [now] to around 14 million by 2050 if we don’t develop something. Yet we’re meeting this with a trickle of success in terms of drug development,” said lead author Dr. Jeffrey L. Cummings, director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. “The dramatic message is that Alzheimer’s disease drug development is in a disastrous state and we have to change this.”
Cummings and his team surveyed data from ClinicalTrials.gov, a government website that records clinical trials, aimed to examine historical trends to try to understand why efforts to develop treatments for Alzheimer’s disease so often have failed. Between 2002 and 2012, they found 99.6% of trials of drugs aimed at preventing, curing or improving the symptoms of Alzheimer’s had failed or been discontinued.
“This is a kind of shock; we really have to reconsider this because the failure rate is unacceptably high,” said Cummings. “We’re simply not meeting the challenge. We’re going to have to invest much more into the drug development process.”
The economic impact of Alzheimer’s disease is monitored by the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2014, the estimated cost to Americans for the care of those of Alzheimer’s will be $214 billion and an estimated $1.2 trillion in 2050.
“We are investing about $600 million per year in Alzheimer’s research and about $6 billion per year in cancer research… at the same time that Alzheimer’s is having a larger impact on the U.S. economy,” Cummings said. “That doesn’t mean we should be doing less cancer research; we should be doing more Alzheimer’s research.”
Going forward, scientists hope to shift their focus on testing alternative methods of treatment for Alzheimer’s.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a wide range of non-pharmacologic interventions have been proposed or studied. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews of published articles on non-pharmacologic therapies found that only cognitive stimulation had findings that suggested a beneficial effect. So stimulate your brain now using CogniFit personalized brain fitness program.