The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:00 am

Drugs unable to slow inherited Alzheimer's


Two experimental drugs failed to prevent or slow mental decline in a study of people who are virtually destined to develop Alzheimer's disease at a relatively young age because they inherited rare gene flaws.

The results announced Monday are another disappointment for the approach scientists have focused on for years – trying to remove a harmful protein that builds up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's, the leading cause of dementia.

“We actually don't even know yet what the drugs did” in term of removing that protein because those results are still being analyzed, said study leader Dr. Randall Bateman at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

But after five years on average, the main goal of the study was not met – people on either of the drugs scored about the same on thinking and memory tests as others given placebo treatments.

The study tested solanezumab by Eli Lilly & Co., and gantenerumab by Swiss drugmaker Roche and its U.S. subsidiary, Genentech. Both drugs gave disappointing results in some earlier studies, but the doses in this one ranged up to four to five times higher and researchers had hoped that would prove more effective.

The study was funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, the Alzheimer's Association and some foundations.

It involved about 200 people in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere with flaws in one of three genes.

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