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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the 2007 and 2008 Drug Discovery for Neurodegeneration Conference

Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Risk in CNS drug discovery: focus on treatment of Alzheimer's Disease

J Fred Pritchard

Author Affiliations

Development and Regulatory Services, MDS Pharma Services, Renaissance Blvd, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406, USA

BMC Neuroscience 2008, 9(Suppl 3):S1  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-9-S3-S1

Published: 10 December 2008


Despite rapid progress in our understanding of disease mechanisms and an exploding list of new targets for therapeutic intervention, drug discovery and development remains a highly risky business. Understanding the risk involved requires appreciation of the differing perspectives of risk held by the various stakeholders involved in drug research. Risk can be reduced by thoughtful management of drug candidate selection, careful planning and program execution by a team of engaged experts, and disciplined decision making. Drug development is particularly challenging for treatments of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, in which translation from animal models of efficacy to human success is poor or unknown, the timelines for clinical study are long, and the markers of efficacy are still evolving. Despite this there are several therapies in clinical development that hold the promise of influencing this disease through novel and possibly synergistic mechanisms.