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If the Alzheimer’s Drug Doesn’t Work … part 2

In last week’s post, Steve Steiber, Ph.D. of our Team explained the new Alzheimer’s therapy, aducanumab, and what’s going on in the “Alzheimer’s space” generally, because Dr. Steiber has over 30 years doing market research in the biopharma arena.  You can look at the last post for more of his creds in research.

First, if you didn’t yet read last week’s post on the newly approved therapy for Alzheimer’s, wait until you’ve read this week and back track for the news on aducanumab … 

 Aducanumab is a novel biologic that works to interrupt the formation of beta amyloid plaque in the brain.  If you’ve read much about Alzheimer’s Disease, you’re familiar with the plaque that diagnosticians see in patients with the disease and how it basically gums up the neural pathways of the brain.  FDA approved aducanumab, in part because it seemed to demonstrate an ability to reduce the plaque, but other benefits like improved cognitive ability were mixed in the two phase 3 clinical trials.  The approval from FDA was conditional, the condition being a phase 4 clinical trial to settle some of the questions on the therapy’s efficacy.

Not every professional agreed with the approval.  In the end, three medical professionals on FDA’s Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee resigned their positions over FDA’s ruling. Some speculate that having given the go ahead for an accelerated approval process, the FDA couldn’t find a way to “put the toothpaste back in the tube.”  Here is how one source summed it up.

That’s it?

No, actually the Biogen trials for aducanumab have been just a small part of the Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials still underway under the watchful eyes of FDA.  If you go to clinical and search “Alzheimer’s Disease”, you’ll find a list of 2,586 trials currently in motion. In fact, it’s enough to be quite overwhelming, so you may want a little help interpreting medical government speak on that site.  The Alzheimer’s Association is one of the most aggressive and effective advocacy groups in America.  Please check it out at and while you’re there you can even find local resources to help if you are a caregiver to an older loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease.  They have a number of resources available in specific metropolitan areas of Illinois as well as Illinois overall. And there may be a community resource near you.

This may come across as complicated, but take heart that the Alzheimer’s Association firmly believes that the first survivor of this disease is now living and breathing in our midst.  It is just a matter of time, and the Association is doing all that it can to make that moment happen as soon as possible.

If you did not get a chance to read last week’s post that led to this, please “click here.”  I encourage you to also send any questions on Alzheimer’s or career support you may have to

Charlotte Bishop is a Caregiver Coach, an Aging Life Care Advisor, a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. .  She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.


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