Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Frequent Failures

Did you know that only one drug to treat Alzheimer's has been approved since 2004?  Did you know that between 2002 and 2012, 99.6% of clinical trials for Alzheimer's drugs have either resulted in failure or have had to be discontinued?  Cancer treatment trails have a 19% success rate than Alzheimer's 0.4%.  The recent study titled "Alzheimer's disease drug-development pipeline: few candidates, frequent failures" brought the above numbers to light.

The study is easy to read and brings much more to light.  For example, in the decade between 2002 and 2012, over 400 studies were conducted.  However, at the end of the study period in Feb 2014, there were over 100 underway.  That was a tidbit that the article which brought this study to my attention didn't mention.

It is significant because it would be easy to become discouraged by what was reported by the BBC.  A 99.6% failure rate is staggering.  How can we hope to ever find a cure, prevention or even something that will at least ease the symptoms when the disease is so complex that we've had such poor results after so many years studying it?

Despite the failures to date and the many more that will be had, scientists are not giving up as the 100+ current studies indicate.  They recognize that the rate of Alzheimer's is increasing and that a treatment of some sort is needed to ease the global burden we're facing.

Will it be in time?  For someone, yes.  For the wave that's approaching?  We hope so.

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