When Biogen and its partner Eisai announced that they were stopping two phase 3 trials of the Alzheimer’s treatment aducanumab because the drug did not appear to be working, it shattered the faith that a truly effective therapy — one that could decelerate the descent that came with the disease — was finally in reach. It ignited reckonings both for Massachusetts-based Biogen and for the underlying scientific theory of Alzheimer’s on which aducanumab was constructed.
But as broadly as the disappointment was felt, the blow to the roughly 3,200 people in the trials and their families was particularly acute. The news … came with the realizations that the drug hadn’t been staving off their neurodegenerative decline.
“Like the rug was pulled out from under us.”
“I felt defeated because I went on the Internet and looked around and there’s just nothing else.”
“I had this overwhelming sense of dread, almost like a hopelessness.”
Talking to families that day, said Kris Kauno, the clinical trials supervisor at the University of Washington’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, “was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.”