A drug that was seen as a strong contender to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease has failed to deliver in the final stage of clinical trials. The results, based on 2,000 patients with mild dementia, are a significant blow because there are currently no treatments to slow the effects of Alzheimer’s. Few have made it to phase three trials. The drug, called solanezumab, is an injectable antibody designed to stick to amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and clear away the abnormal proteins. Scientists had hoped that, by helping to destroy the sticky plaques in the early stages of the disease, the drug would protect patients against more severe cognitive decline later on. However, the latest results, announced by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly ahead of the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease conference in San Diego next month, show the drug has no significant benefits to memory when compared with the placebo taken by some patients. John Lechleiter, president and chief executive of Eli Lilly, said: “The results of the solanezumab trial were not what we had hoped for and we are disappointed for the millions of people waiting for a potential disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s.” In a statement, the company said: “Lilly will not pursue regulatory submissions for solanezumab for the treatment of mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.”
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