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Researchers identify urgent need for Alzheimer's disease drug development

Researchers identify urgent need for Alzheimer's disease drug development
03 Jul 2014

An analysis of clinical trials shows that the pipeline for potential treatments of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is small and rate of success is limited, according to research published in the open access journal Alzheimer's Research & Therapy.

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health have examined clinicaltrials.gov - the largest clinical trials database - for all ongoing studies for Alzheimer's disease (AD) from the years 2002 to 2012. They found an urgent need to increase the number of agents entering the AD drug development pipeline and progressing successfully towards new therapy treatments.

The main findings of the study conclude that there are relatively few drugs in development for Alzheimer's disease; the failure rate for AD drug development is 99.6% for the decade 2002-2012; and the number of drugs has been declining since 2009.

Jeffrey Cummings, lead researcher from Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, says: "Our goal was to examine historical trends to help understand why Alzheimer's disease treatment development efforts so often fail. With an estimated 44 million people living with the condition, the study shows that the Alzheimer's disease drug development ecosystem needs more support given the magnitude of the problem."

This comprehensive analysis illustrates the high rate of failure of compounds and the need for a constant supply of new drugs or a higher focus on repurposing studies is needed. Repurposing studies involve taking an existing approved drug and studying it in a new use or condition to see if current treatments could be used in new ways. With AD more expensive to the US economy than cardiovascular disease or cancer, researchers believe the system of AD drugs must be supported, grown and coordinated to improve the success rate and development of new AD therapies.

Kate Zhong, another researcher on the study, says: "By analyzing both completed as well as on-going trials and currently active compounds, we were able to provide insight into longitudinal trends in drug development. What we found was that the investment in AD drugs and therapies is relatively low compared to the challenge posed by the disease. The pipeline is almost dry."

-ENDS-

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Notes to editor:

1. Research article
Alzheimer's disease drug development pipeline: few candidates, frequent failures
Jeffrey L Cummings, Travis Morstorf and Kate Zhong
Alzheimer's Research & Therapy 2014, 6:37

Article available at journal website here:
http://alzres.com/content/6/4/37

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

2. Alzheimer's Research & Therapy is the major forum for translational research into Alzheimer's disease. An international peer-reviewed journal, it publishes open access basic research with a translational focus, as well as clinical trials, research into drug discovery and development, and epidemiologic studies.

3. Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health provides state-of-the-art care for cognitive disorders and for the family members of those who suffer from them. The physicians and staff at the Center for Brain Health continuously work towards the development of early diagnosis and the advancement of knowledge concerning mild cognitive disorders, which could one day delay or prevent their onset. Patients receive expert diagnosis and treatment at the Center for Brain Health, which offers a multidisciplinary patient-focused approach to diagnosis and treatment, promoting collaboration across all care providers, offering patients a complete continuum of care and infusing education and research into all that it does. The facility, designed by Frank Gehry, houses clinical space, a diagnostic center, neuroimaging rooms, physician offices, laboratories devoted to clinical research and the Keep Memory Alive Event Center. For more information, visit http://www.clevelandclinic.org/brainhealth.

4. BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector. http://www.biomedcentral.com

5. Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S.News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation's best hospitals in its annual "America's Best Hospitals" survey. More than 3,000 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. The Cleveland Clinic health system includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, eight community hospitals, more than 75 Northern Ohio outpatient locations, including 16 full-service Family Health Centers, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and, scheduled to begin seeing patients in 2015, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2012, there were 5.1 million outpatient visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 157,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 130 countries. Visit us at www.clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at www.twitter.com/ClevelandClinic

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