Today's Top Alzheimer's News

The promise of NIH's new pharmaceutical collaboration, AstraZeneca takes Merck head on in Alzheimer's drug race, and dementia casts a shadow over China (read more). 

 

Must reads

  • A February 7, 2014 Chicago Tribune editorial highlighted the promise of NIH's new collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry to tackle diseases like Alzheimer's and diabetes. According to the editorial, "Pooling drug companies and an army of scientists may or may not produce huge breakthroughs. If this does succeed, the benefits reaped will be measured not merely in dollars, but in lives — potentially millions of lives — improved and saved. The Alzheimer's Foundation of America estimates that the number of Americans afflicted with that disorder — currently about 5 million — will rise as the U.S. population over age 65 grows dramatically. The urgency for treatments, for cures, is self-evident.Diseases can seem indomitable — until resolute and methodical scientists prove otherwise. Think about polio. Or smallpox. Or diphtheria. Each was tamed by medical innovation.Let's hope the NIH dream team adds to that list of the vanquished. And soon." Additional coverage from The Washington Post's WonkBlog.
  • A February 6, 2014 Reuters article reported that "AstraZeneca is moving an experimental Alzheimer's drug into late-stage development, taking on U.S. rival Merck & Co which announced plans to start similar final-stage research in December." According to the article, "AstraZeneca is integrating Phase II and Phase III trials for its drug, which Pangalos said could either lead to a second pivotal Phase III study or, if the data was strong enough, an immediate filing for regulatory approval. ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum said Merck was probably some six months ahead of AstraZeneca in the BACE race, with the first Phase III data from the U.S. company's programme likely to emerge in around 2017." Also covered by Bloomberg
  • A February 6, 2014 Bloomberg article reported on China's looming dementia crisis. According to the article, "China has 9 million Alzheimer’s sufferers, the world’s largest group of patients with the disease, according to a 2013 article in the medical journal Lancet. Since 1990, life expectancy in China has increased 7 years, to 76; the flip side of that progress is that longer life spans combine with stress and other modern afflictions to fuel a rise in mental illnesses ranging from depression to Alzheimer’s disease. The government has directed limited resources toward the elderly, and only 300 doctors in the country are qualified to treat dementia. “Caring for most dementia sufferers in China is left to family members with no or limited training or support from the state and at considerable physical, psychological, and financial costs to the caregivers,” says Kit Yee Chan, lead author of the Lancet article."

 

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