APR 29, 2015 2:14 PM PDT

Is Biogen's Alzheimer's Drug, Aducanumab, a Panacea for Alzheimer's?

WRITTEN BY: Ilene Schneider
Everybody wants to find a cure for Alzheimer's. When something looks good, people are likely to get very excited.
Cerebral amyloid angiopathy
According to Cynthia Fox, writing in Drug Discovery & Development (April 28), "The Biogen anti-amyloid antibody, aducanumab, took the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases in Nice, France by storm last month. The drug seemed able to significantly reduce amyloid in patients' brains, while demonstrably slowing cognitive degeneration. It had analysts and scientists alike buzzing." Fox went on to say that people have begun to have reservations about the drug as time has gone by, while others have remained optimistic to a greater or lesser degree.

The drug seemed to be the highlight of the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases. As a result, Biogen's stock went up 10 percent. According to Fox's article the company attributed the success to the fact that the antibody clung to amyloid multimers in the brain, as opposed to monomers. "This let it cling to amyloid during a critical phase, when it was aggregating," according to Fox's account.

However, people began to express reservations about careful PET scans to confirm existence of plaque that might have bolstered the outcome, the choice of patients in the early stages of the disease, the small sample size and the questionable statistical significance. Those factors, plus another study claiming that tau was more critical in Alzheimer's than amyloid, have made many researchers skeptical -- or at least wishing to take a wait-and-see attitude -- about the Biogen drug candidate. They have concluded that it is too early to get excited until more data can be made available.

Source: Drug Discovery & Development
(The Story of Biogen's Alzheimer's Drug, Aducanumab, Tue, 04/28/2015 - 10:28am, by Cynthia Fox, Science Editor)
http://www.dddmag.com/articles/2015/04/story-biogens-alzheimers-drug-aducanumab
About the Author
  • Ilene Schneider is the owner of Schneider the Writer, a firm that provides communications for health care, high technology and service enterprises. Her specialties include public relations, media relations, advertising, journalistic writing, editing, grant writing and corporate creativity consulting services. Prior to starting her own business in 1985, Ilene was editor of the Cleveland edition of TV Guide, associate editor of School Product News (Penton Publishing) and senior public relations representative at Beckman Instruments, Inc. She was profiled in a book, How to Open and Operate a Home-Based Writing Business and listed in Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Advertising and Who's Who in Media and Communications. She was the recipient of the Women in Communications, Inc. Clarion Award in advertising. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Ilene and her family have lived in Irvine, California, since 1978.
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