Today's Top Alzheimer's News

Denver Broncos owner steps down to address Alzheimer's, a dearth of innovation for key drugs for Alzheimer's and other diseases, and a new poll finds Americans worry they will not be able to afford expensive specialty medicines (read more). 

Must Reads

  • A July 23, 2014 USA Today article reported that "Pat Bowlen, the Denver Broncos owner who won two Super Bowls and oversaw one of the NFL's most consistently competitive franchises, is giving up control of the team after acknowledging to The Denver Post that he has Alzheimer's disease."
  • A July 22, 2014 New York Times article reported on the "dearth of innovation for key drugs" for diseases like Alzheimer's and other neuropsychiatric diseases. According to the article, "Neuropsychiatric diseases, including Alzheimer’s and depression, are the leading cause of disability across most of the industrial world. And they are going to get worse. Yet researchers have underscored a dearth of investment into these diseases.Instead, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms are betting on personalized therapies — mostly targeting specific varieties of cancers — and drugs for so-called orphan diseases, which affect very small populations…The problem, of course, lies in the industry’s incentives. The cost of developing a new drug has skyrocketed over the last three decades. A research paper by scientists from Eli Lilly suggested that in 2010, it cost $1.8 billion to bring a big new drug from conception to rollout, through the costly gantlet of clinical trials needed to prove that it is both safe and more effective than existing therapies." 
  • A July 22, 2014 The Wall Street Journal article reported that a new poll "that finds a large majority of Americans are mostly satisfied with the prices of their medicines, but worry they will not be able to afford expensive specialty medicines, if needed." According to the article, "Meanwhile, 85% say that focusing research efforts into finding treatments for cancer and Alzheimer’s is important, but drug makers must find ways to become more efficient in order to bring prices down by using new technologies, rather than constantly increasing prices. Only 15% believe society should be prepared to pay whatever these medicines cost. And 86% agree that drug makers should realize a fair return on their R&D investment, but need to price medicines in a way that the entire health care system can sustain the costs. However, this view varies with age – 77% those between 18 and 29 years old agree with this notion, but 94% of those 65 years of age and older support the concept."

Research, science, and technology 

  • A July 23, 2014 USA Today article reported on the launch of nationwide clinical trails to test Eli Lilly's drug solanezumab. According to the article, "A $140 million study by the National Institutes of Health and the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly will test the medication, solanezumab, to see if it can prevent the ravages of Alzheimer's, which include memory loss and decline in cognitive function. "This is the first time we can intervene long before the extreme damage to the brain has been done," said Dr. Nunzio Pomara, a psychiatrist and director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Research Division at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research. The state-funded facility in Orangeburg is one of 60 nationwide enrolling trial participants."
  • A July 23, 2014 The Scientist article reported on the latest developments in early Alzheimer's detection research. According to the article, "“Every single Alzheimer’s agent for the past 25 years has failed egregiously,” said Derek Lowe, a medicinal chemist at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in Boston and long-time drug discovery blogger. “If we’re going to have any hope at all, we’ve got to get in as early as possible.” A handful of recently announced trials that are doing just that. Last week (July 15), for example, Novartis announced its partnership with the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix to test two drugs known to target the disease’s characteristic amyloid plaques in the brain. The trial aims to recruit more than 1,300 healthy individuals, ages 60 to 75, carrying two copies of the APOE4 gene (who are therefore at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s), to see if these drugs are effective at delaying or preventing the onset of dementia if taken before symptoms appear."

 

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