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Viewpoint: We must embrace ‘risk taking’ in the quest to cure Alzheimer’s

| | July 8, 2019

For common neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, nothing has worked so far to slow the course of the disease in spite of billions of dollars of investment by industry and the nonprofit and government sectors. The failure rate has been an amazing 100%.

Most of the limited success in drug development for brain diseases has come from either “me too” medicines that merely tweak formulation or delivery, or “somewhat new” medicines that act on already proven targets.

The appeal of pursuing incremental improvements with medicines that act on old, familiar targets is understandable. Pursuing known targets and mechanisms is less daunting to investors and seems less risky to pharmaceutical company executives. But repeatedly filling drug-development pipelines with agents that act on the same handful of CNS targets has done little to help patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Our industry needs to accept, if not embrace, risk taking with new drug targets.

The identification and biological validation of new targets represents a fresh chance to develop effective treatments, but this is exactly the point at which our industry eschews risk at the expense of finding potentially groundbreaking advances in treatments.

Read full, original post: It’s time to find new targets for brain diseases instead of just pursuing old ones

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