The Associated Press Wednesday did a rather dire story on almost-complete studies on three potential drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. The gist of the article is quite simple: If these drugs don’t do well in their late-stage trials, several pharmaceutical companies may give up on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.
AP chief medical writer Marilynn Marchione described the three drugs being tested as “the last men standing” in terms of a cure for this dreaded disease. These medications are a step ahead of the current drugs being used to treat Alzheimer’s now, Aricept and Namenda. Those two medications help control the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, that’s all, not cure it.
Marchione put the scientific mumbo jumbo into laymen’s terms. She wrote that the drugs being tested are really antibodies “that aim to clear the sticky plaque gumming up patients’ brains.” These antibodies battle against amyloid, the substance that makes up the plaque.
The three drugs in final tests, according to AP, are: Bapineuzumab, from Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson; Solanezumab, from Eli Lilly & Co.; and Gammagard, from Baxter International Inc.
“Experts say if these fail, drug companies may pull out of the field in frustration, leaving little hope for the millions of people with the disease,” Marchione wrote.
She offers an analysis that’s worth reading.