New Alzheimer’s drug disappoints in trials

An experimental treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has shown disappointing results in clinical trials, according to the makers of the drug. (Source: CNN)
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 1:19 PM CST
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(CNN) – An experimental treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has shown disappointing results in clinical trials, according to new information from the makers of the drug.

Gantenerumab was a promising new drug, but clinical trials showed it failed to help people at high risk of memory loss from Alzheimer’s or those who were in the early stages of the disease.

“We are disappointed, just like I know that families would be,” said Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Gantenerumab is part of a class of injected drugs designed to remove sticky protein pieces called beta amyloid from the brain. A buildup of those pieces is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

Roche, the company behind the drug, said it appeared to remove less of the protein pieces than expected.

Clinical trials also showed that it didn’t significantly improve brain function and memory.

The company said based on these results, all studies with the drug will be stopped.

“I think there is a silver lining,” Carrillo said. “The drug didn’t meet its primary endpoint and that is disappointing, but it did actually help us understand more about this particular strategy.”

And there’s still hope for the beta amyloid removal strategy. Carrillo said the drug just didn’t remove enough to get significant benefits for patients.

There are now other beta amyloid-reducing drugs being tested.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for this particular strategy, but there are so many other strategies coming up right behind it,” Carrillo said.

Another drug, Aduhelm, was approved for treatment of Alzheimer’s by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the summer, despite a lack of support from the agency’s independent advisers.