For decades, some of our best and brightest medical scientists have dedicated themselves to finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease. What happened? Where is the cure? The biggest breakthroughs occurred twenty-five years ago, with little progress since. In How Not to Study a Disease, neurobiologist Karl Herrup explains why the Alzheimer's discoveries of the 1990s didn't bear fruit, and maps a direction for future research.
How Not to Study a Disease goes on sale on October 5, and is the latest book from Karl Herrup, a Professor of Neurobiology and an Investigator in the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is also Adjunct Professor of Life Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where he was formerly Head of Life Sciences.
In the book Herrup offers a unique insider's perspective, describing the red flags that science ignored in the rush to find a cure. He is unsparing in calling out the stubbornness, greed, and bad advice that has hamstrung the field, but his final message is a largely optimistic one. He presents a new and sweeping vision of the field that includes a redefinition of the disease and a fresh conceptualization of aging and dementia that asks us to imagine the brain as a series of interconnected “neighborhoods.” He calls for changes in virtually every aspect of the Alzheimer's disease research effort, from the drug development process, to the mechanisms of support for basic research, to the often-overlooked role of the scientific media, and more. With How Not to Study a Disease, Herrup provides a roadmap that points us in a new direction in our journey to a cure for Alzheimer's.
As the search for a cure continues, Herrup provides crucial insights, including his sharp criticism of Biogen's latest FDA approved drug Aducanumab, calling out the ineffectiveness and expense of the drug. "Aducanumab is marginally effective at best. Only one of the trial groups outperformed the controls, and then only barely. Aducanumab also comes with possibly risky side effects due to brain swelling. Perhaps most important of all, however, aducanumab can never be made widely available. It is far too expensive: the company set a wholesale price of $56,000 per year." Despite poor results in trials Biogen chose to move forward in an effort to capitalize on Aducanumab's alleged treatment of early-stage Alzheimers.
Learn more about the book via the MIT Press website: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/how-not-study-disease