Alzheimer's Disease
61-year-old Masahiko Sato, who has become a kind of "poster boy" for Japan's growing number of people with dementia, strolls during a cherry blossom viewing event at Omiya park in Omiya, north of Tokyo, Japan, March 27, 2016. Reuters/Issei Kato

Promising Alzheimer’s drug Solanezumab by Eli Lilly & Co, which was considered a significant amyloid buster, has failed clinical trials. It’s a major setback for sufferers of the mind-robbing disease, which is also Australia’s second biggest killer. The pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly has stated that Solanezumab failed to slow down Alzheimer’s progress in patients.

In fact, the company stated that the drug Solanezumab could not slow down cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s when compared to patients who took placebo, reports Herald Sun.

“The results of the Solanezumab EXPEDITION3 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 disease,” a report by Eli Lilly stated.

The 18-month placebo-controlled trial involved more than 2,100 patients and the trial targeted beta amyloid protein that is believed to cause lumps in brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The scientists had hoped that the Alzheimer’s drug Solanezumab would destroy the rogue proteins in the brain and slow the progress of the degenerative disease.

The failure of the company’s promising Alzheimer’s drug is an indication that targeting amyloid may not be that straightforward. Even other treatments targeting plaque formation have not returned promising results.

According to The Australian, University of Texas Medical Branch neuroscientist Rakez Kayed believes combination therapies targeting various Alzheimer’s-related proteins could be helpful. For example, another protein Tau forms toxic tangles in brain cells.

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A group of scientists believe treating Alzheimer’s early, before the start of symptoms, could be the key to stop or reduce progression in patients. This was in fact the basis of the most recent Eli Lilly trial.

Some of the drugs that are in currently in advanced stages of testing are Verubecestat by Merck, Intepirdine by Axovant, Aducanumab by Biogen and Crenezumab by Roche Holding. As promising Alzheimer’s drug Solanezumab by Eli Lilly & Co has failed the tests, hope lies on these.