Since 2002, close to 300 drug candidates to treat Alzheimer's have run into clinical dead ends. But now, having learned from those failures, researchers are testing -- and retesting -- a batch of the most promising compounds designed to slow the disease's progression. An article in Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, describes what made this possible and what lies ahead.
Lisa M. Jarvis, a senior correspondent at C&EN, reports that just a few years ago, Alzheimer's research suffered from several high-profile setbacks. Experimental therapies, many of which targeted amyloid-? peptides, failed in clinical trials. The string of disappointments added to the already-existing doubt over whether amyloid-? was causing the disease. But researchers would later acknowledge that the clinical trials -- and in some cases, drugs themselves -- were fundamentally flawed.
Now equipped with better technologies and a better understanding of how the disease unfolds, several pharmaceutical companies are leading clinical trials to test new Alzheimer's drug candidates that target either amyloid-? or tau, a protein also implicated in the condition. So far, early results are promising for patients with mild symptoms of the disease. Although the therapies don't represent a cure, they signal long-awaited progress.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 158,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.