clear
Tuesday December 12th, 2017 10:21PM

Failed study, dimmed hopes in hunt for Alzheimer's treatment

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A treatment for Alzheimer's failed to slow mental decline in a widely anticipated study, ending hope that researchers at Eli Lilly had finally found a drug that does more to help those suffering from the fatal, mind-robbing disease.

The pharmaceutical company's shares plunged Wednesday before markets opened.

The drug, solanezumab, missed the study's main goal when patients taking it did not experience a statistically significant slowing of cognitive decline — which involves a person's ability to remember things — compared to those taking a placebo or fake drug.

Solanezumab had already failed in two previous large studies of people with mild-to-moderate forms of the disease, but combined results announced in 2012 suggested that the drug might slow decline for those with the mildest symptoms. Lilly initiated another study with hopes of helping those patients.

Alzheimer's is a degenerative, fatal disease that impairs memory and thought. It is characterized by the buildup in the brain of a protein called amyloid beta that clumps together to form sticky plaques between nerve cells.

With more than 5 million people in the United States afflicted, it is the most common form of dementia. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only one without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Solanezumab (sol-ah-NAYZ-uh-mab) is delivered intravenously and binds to the amyloid protein to clear it from the brain before it clumps together forming plaques.

Some researchers think the proteins trigger Alzheimer's before they form the plaques, but they aren't certain yet whether those proteins or the plaques are a cause of the disease, or if they're just a symptom. Other companies are testing drugs in an attempt to remove the protein.

Alzheimer's experts had modest expectations for Lilly's latest study, in part because a statistically significant result — which means a change is likely not due to random chance — doesn't necessarily deliver a dramatic improvement in how patients live with the disease.

Keeping a patient at the same cognitive level for 18 months would be considered a "big win," Maria Carrillo, chief science officer for the Alzheimer's Association, said before results were announced Wednesday.

A positive result could have led to a better option compared to what is out there now. Current Alzheimer's treatments like Aricept and Namenda temporarily ease symptoms such as memory loss, confusion and agitation. They don't slow, stop or reverse the mental decline that occurs when the brain's nerve cells stop functioning normally.

Alzheimer's patients typically live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable, during which the disease gradually erodes their memory and ability to think or perform simple tasks.

At least 18 other drugs are in late-stage testing, including several similar to solanezumab.

The failure of solanezumab doesn't necessarily doom other drugs that take the same approach, said Dr. Ronald Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. Petersen noted earlier this month that other drugs target amyloid beta proteins in different ways.

Even so, shares of other drugmakers developing Alzheimer's treatments, like Axovant Sciences Ltd. and Biogen Inc., dove in early trading Wednesday.

Shares of Eli Lilly and Co., based in Indianapolis, tumbled 13 percent, or $9.99, to $66 in premarket trading. Lilly said the study result will lead to a fourth-quarter charge of about $150 million before taxes.

___

Associated Press Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP Business, AP Health - Senior Health, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Revelers say goodbye to a year of conflicts, deadly violence
People around the world are bidding a weary adieu to a year filled with political surprises, prolonged conflicts, deadly attacks at gatherings and celebrity deaths
11:58PM ( 9 months ago )
Get ready for a blockbuster sequel: Alabama vs. Clemson
Get ready for a blockbuster sequel: Alabama vs. Clemson, The Rematch
11:31PM ( 9 months ago )
With Ohio State shutout, Clemson earns another shot at 'Bama
Clemson's redemption: By shutting out Ohio State, the Tigers earn another shot at 'Bama
11:25PM ( 9 months ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Rural New Mexico exports mentoring model for physicians
A mentoring program for physicians in rural areas is being tapped by the federal government to expand access to specialized care
1:41PM ( 9 months ago )
Obama's last month: 'Obamacare' defense, Chicago speech
President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers will meet next week to forge a common strategy to stop Republicans from destroying his signature health care law
2:43PM ( 9 months ago )
Obama's last month: 'Obamacare' huddle, Chicago speech
President Barack Obama will strategize next week with Democratic lawmakers about how to prevent Republicans from destroying his Affordable Care Act
1:36PM ( 9 months ago )
AP Health
New UN chief wants consensus but faces antagonistic Trump
Antonio Guterres took the reins of the United Nations on New Year's Day, promising to be a "bridge-builder" but facing an antagonistic incoming U.S. administration led by Donald Trump who thinks the world body's 193 member states do nothing except talk
9:39PM ( 9 months ago )
US states, leery of Russia malware, re-examine cybersecurity
Several U.S. states are asking cybersecurity experts to re-examine state and utility networks after a malware code U.S. officials say is linked to Russian hackers was found on a Vermont utility's laptop
8:57PM ( 9 months ago )
States re-examine cybersecurity after Russia accused of hack
Several U.S. states are asking cybersecurity experts to re-examine state and utility networks after a malware code U.S. officials say is linked to Russian hackers was found on a Vermont utility's laptop
6:37PM ( 9 months ago )
AP Business
Oklahoma to require restroom signs in anti-abortion effort
Oklahoma will force hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools to post signs inside public restrooms directing pregnant women where to receive services as part of an effort to reduce the number of abortions
3:57PM ( 10 months ago )
Oklahoma may require restroom signs in anti-abortion effort
Oklahoma will force hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools to post signs inside public restrooms directing pregnant women where to receive services as part of an effort to reduce the number of abortions
11:17AM ( 10 months ago )
Supreme Court leaves $1B NFL concussion settlement in place
The Supreme Court has rejected challenges to the estimated $1 billion plan by the NFL to settle thousands of concussion lawsuits filed by former players
8:42PM ( 10 months ago )
AP Health - Senior Health
India's Modi defends decision to demonetize high-value bills
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended his government's decision to demonetize the country's highest-value currency bills last month in an unusual New Year's Eve message to the nation
1:58PM ( 9 months ago )
US stocks end modestly lower on final trading day of 2016
Investors end a year of solid gains on Wall Street in a selling mood, sending the major U.S. stock indexes modestly lower in the final trading day of 2016
6:18PM ( 9 months ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Among 10 Things to Know: Obama unleashes sanctions on Russia for election hacking; cease-fire in Syria appears to be holding; Serena Williams announces engagement to co-founder of Reddit.
7:40AM ( 9 months ago )
AP Business - Industries
US stocks inch higher in slow pre-holiday trading
US stock indexes move slightly higher in quiet trading ahead of the Christmas holiday
4:37PM ( 10 months ago )
Lawmaker says son's broken arm was bad health care example
A conservative GOP lawmaker says he "made a poor choice of words" when citing a decision to delay treatment of his son's broken arm to point out the benefits of a health care system in which consumers bear a greater share of out-of-pocket costs
10:30PM ( 10 months ago )
Not today: Dow still short of 20,000 as health stocks skid
US stocks finish slightly lower as drugmakers and other health care companies fall
4:27PM ( 10 months ago )
AP Business - Health Care
Ousted Catalan leader vows peaceful resistance to Spain
Catalonia's ousted separatist president says the region's fired leaders will continue "working to build a free country," as he called for peaceful opposition to Spain's imposition of direct rule in the region
1:04PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Florida AD: No buyout discussed with coach McElwain or reps
Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin says the school has not had any conversations with embattled coach Jim McElwain or his representatives regarding a contract buyout
1:02PM ( 22 minutes ago )
The Latest: Police say 20 may be trapped in Somalia attack
The Latest: More than 20 may be trapped inside hotel attacked in Somalia's capital, police say
12:50PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Pope: Christians can promote political dialogue in Europe
Pope Francis says that Christians can help shape Europe's future by promoting political dialogue "especially where it is threatened and where conflict seems to prevail."
12:39PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Cancer survivor, World Series champ Rizzo is Clemente winner
Anthony Rizzo, a cancer survivor and World Series champion, has been recognized for his foundation's work to help other families dealing with cancer
12:31PM ( 52 minutes ago )