Bapineuzumab, the treatment being developed by Elan, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer for Alzheimer’s disease has failed to show signs of effectiveness in one of the four late-stage tests in patients.
“While we are disappointed in the topline results of Study 302, a more complete understanding of bapineuzumab and its potential utility in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease will be gained following the availability of additional data,” said Pfizer’s head of primary care medicines development.
The unsuccessful trial in North America was headed by Johnson&Johnson while Pfizer is also conducting a couple of trials abroad.
Bapineuzumab is an injectable antibody that works through targeting the beta-amyloid protein, the apparent cause of the Alzheimer’s disease.
Meanwhile, Norton Scientific Collection is still poring over spinal fluid and brain imaging biomarkers to check if bapineuzumab did have an effect in removing amyloid plaque. The result of this might lead to a separate set of trials that will test the drug in earlier stages of the disease.
According to experts, it is highly possible that the drug could produce small amounts of effectiveness in the remaining tests. Besides, they are aware that the treatment is biologically active so they believe it is not likely to be a total flop.
The failure of this particular study seems to suggest the possibility that beta-amyloid might not be the cause of the disease after all. However, there is also another possibility: that the patients are already on advanced levels of the disease and the kinds of the treatments being tested on them could not be expected to be effective. Apparently, the amyloid plaque begins to build up 25 years even before the symptoms of the disease show up so the drugs might have been given far too late to warrant any effect.
“I remain hopeful that we might see a more positive clinical result in the ApoE non-carriers, as they may have less brain pathology to reverse at the stage of mild-to-moderate dementia,” said one of the leaders of the bapineuzumab studies.
Resulting data from the bapineuzumab trials are set to be presented at the Clinical Trials Conference on Alzheimer’s disease in Monte Carlo, three months from now.