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Alzheimer News 8/17/2010
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Alzheimer's Association statement on semagacestat trial

Lilly halts dosing in Phase III Alzheimer's disease drug trial of semagacestat

The Alzheimer's Association is disappointed to learn of the negative interim results from the Phase III clinical trial of semagacestat. People with Alzheimer's urgently need more and better treatment options for this devastating, fatal brain disease. That said, the Alzheimer's Association remains optimistic about the future prospects for earlier detection of Alzheimer's, better treatments and prevention strategies.

We learn from every research study. This one was successfully launched and operated in more than 20 countries around the world. It had good site-to-site consistency in the data, which gave a signal strong enough to show a difference between the treated group and the placebo group, though of course not in the direction that we would have hoped. It generated much valuable information for future large-scale, global trials in Alzheimer's, which are the types of trials we need to give us confidence that trials results are valid and that the tested drug works in a wide variety of people.

Dozens of other compounds are in the development pipeline for Alzheimer's disease. We are encouraged that drugs in the pipeline attack the disease from a variety of angles. Amyloid beta remains a viable target in Alzheimer's disease that should be addressed through myriad methods and mechanisms. Abnormal tau protein, inflammation, free radicals, and the connections between heart disease and Alzheimer's, among others, should also be targeted. New knowledge about the causes and progression of Alzheimer's emerges every day, and this must be fostered, discussed, and incorporated into ongoing therapy development as fast as is humanly possible.

At the same time, we are realistic in our understanding that addressing and eventually defeating brain diseases such as Alzheimer's is very challenging, and that enthusiasm must be balanced with appropriate care and caution.

The at-risk population for Alzheimer's is growing rapidly, and we need to make significant advances in early detection, treatment and prevention. Alzheimer's is an overwhelming epidemic, already claiming millions of individuals, and it is on track to deplete our healthcare resources and devastate Medicare. The current level of federal research funding for Alzheimer's is unacceptable considering the many millions of people this disease affects and the huge financial impact on our economy and society.

Alzheimer's disease is clearly the #1 public health challenge of the 21st century and research is the only way to solve this problem. In order to get better diagnosis, treatments and prevention for Alzheimer's, we must swiftly and boldly address two important issues:

  • The chronic underinvestment in Alzheimer's disease research. We need to get more Alzheimer drugs in the pipeline. To do this, we must increase the research investment in Alzheimer's to levels similar to other leading causes of death, such as cancer and heart disease. Only then will we have the chance to see the same type of progress — declining death rates and viable lifestyle-based prevention strategies — and stop this epidemic.

    This summer's Alzheimer's Breakthrough Ride is an example of the research community's dedication and collaborative spirit in eliminating Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer researchers are cycling with the Alzheimer's Association to raise awareness about Alzheimer's and collect signatures for a petition urging Congress to make Alzheimer's disease a national priority. The Ride will culminate in Washington, D.C. on World Alzheimer's Day (Sept. 21), where the signatures will be presented to Congress. Follow the Ride's progress and sign the petition at www.alz.org/breakthroughride.

  • More volunteers needed for Alzheimer's clinical studies. Recruiting and retaining trial participants is one of the greatest obstacles to developing the next generation of Alzheimer's treatments, perhaps second only to lack of funding. In July, the Alzheimer's Association launched Alzheimer's Association TrialMatch™, a confidential and free interactive tool that provides comprehensive clinical trial information and an individualized trial matching service for people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias — easily accessible via the Internet (www.alz.org/trialmatch) and toll free telephone (800.272.3900).

Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org.

Contact: Alzheimer's Association
Media line: 312.335.4078
E-mail: media@alz.org


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.