As of the end of last year (2014), more than two-hundred forty-four Alzheimer's drug compounds have been tested, with failure rate that exceeds 99 percent.
But a new treatment is showing real promise in early stage clinical trials.
The results of a new early-stage trial, reported at the AD/PD 2015: International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases, and a further analysis of subgroup treatment response presented at the recent American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 67th Annual Meeting, showed that a monoclonal antibody, aducanumab (formerly known as BIIB037), developed by Biogen Inc., significantly reduced amyloid plaque in the brain over the 1 year study period and slowed cognitive decline.
"Treatment with aducanumab results in a dose-dependent and time-dependent effect that is consistent across APOE ε4 carriers and noncarriers, and among subjects with both mild and prodromal disease," lead author Jeffrey Sevigny, MD, Biogen Inc, stated.
This is significant as more than 50 percent of people with AD are APOE ε4 carriers.
Scientists are cautiously optimistic, in light of a history of other drugs which have shown promis in early stages, only to fail in later, larger scale trials.
Based on these early-stage results, Aducanumab will now move directly to phase III trials.