Sep 4, 2010

Richard Taylor Comment: When will this madness stop?

When will we stop funding the crowds of researchers rushing up blind allies in the hopes finding a cure for "it" - something we have yet to all agree on what "it" really is, and what really causes "it"?....
Alzheimer's Reading Room

The following press release and response were entered by Richard Taylor under the article -- Brain Exercises May Slow Cognitive Decline Initially, But Speed Up Dementia Later.

I wanted to be sure that everyone was able to see it and read it so I moved it up as an article.

Sept. 1, 2010, 12:16 p.m. EDT • Recommend • Post:

Alzheimer's Therapeutics Reviewed by NeuroInvestment

CARDIFF, CA, Sep 01, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- NI Research has released the September issue of NeuroInvestment, which features a comprehensive review of Alzheimer's therapeutics, and a critical assessment of the pharma industry's premature rush to closure:

"It remains hard to give up the illusion that we know how Alzheimer's works. The relationship between amyloid and Alzheimer's, which has spurred the launch of thousands of grant applications and VC supplications, is at the very least, far more complicated than has been advertised. Never has the neuro area embraced a mechanism so early and fervently, with so little to show for it."

The September review looks at the expensive mistakes that have been made, and are in the process of being made, in the search for effective Alzheimer's treatments. The amyloid model has not been completely discredited, but all the human data thus far acquired points to what is at best, an extremely incomplete understanding of its role and the difficulty in safely targeting amyloid. Other potentially useful mechanistic approaches have often languished. The highly popular secretase inhibition strategies have failed, with semagacestat's recent Phase III results showing a deleterious impact upon patient functioning.

A recalibration of what constitutes a comprehensive AD pipeline is required, which opens the door for therapeutics utilizing other mechanisms, such as those addressing tau, metal-binding, and neurotrophin-enhancement.

The goal of AD treatment may also warrant a reset, as sustaining function farther into the lifespan may be as useful, and more safely viable, than is the elusive goal of disease-modification. ..Over 180 therapeutics programs from 110 companies are included in this review. They range from the failed or failing leviathan programs, like JNJ/Pfizer/Elan's bapineuzumab, Lilly's semagacestat, and Pfizer/Medivation's Dimebon; to those with early clinical data, such as Allon Therapeutics(CA:NPC 0.39, +0.02, +5.41%), Targacept (TRGT 21.14, -0.13, -0.61%), Ceregene, EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, and Prana's PBT-2; to still under-the-radar programs from such companies as Axerion, Cortex Pharmaceuticals (NYSE Amex: COR), AgeneBio, NsGene, and Synosia Therapeutics.

The September issue also considers the nascent area of Alzheimer's biomarkers, and their lack of readiness for clinical 'prime time;' the dim prospects for redundant therapeutics from Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Somaxon, and Jazz Pharmaceuticals; and the controversial expansion of CNS drug development partnering by Cypress Biosciences (CYPB 3.36, -0.03, -0.88%). A review of the Danish neurotrophic specialist firm, NsGene, is also included.

NeuroInvestment is the independent, monthly review of the neurotherapeutics area. Its reputation has been built upon fourteen years of objective, insightful, and critical coverage of the neurotherapeutics field. A one-year corporate subscription is 1,636.28€ email or hardcopy. Add194.8€ for dual delivery, add38.96€ for airmail delivery outside North America. A three month e545.43€mail trial is 331.15€ The September issue is also being made available as a single purchase, for
NI Research is the leading publisher of independent research on the neurotherapeutics industry. NI Research has published NeuroInvestment since 1995, the Private CNS Company Review since 2003, and CNS Disorders/Therapeutics since 2007. NI Research also provides strategic consultation services. NI Research has developed an unmatched information base regarding both publicly and privately-held neuro-oriented companies.


The following is Richard Taylor's response.

Richard's Response:

Hello, I have been living with the diagnosis of symptoms of dementia for the past seven years.
And so money talks louder than the cheerleaders, researchers, and press releases that continually support fund raising efforts both private and public, and serve to create false hopes in the hearts and minds of those living with dementia.

It's just not right that that those who should know the most about dementia, those who claim a leadership role, those who claim to be protecting the best interests of people with dementia and those living with people with dementia - many of these leaders/spokespersons have become advocates for spending more money, quicker on research based upon "breakthroughs" "new insights" etc. - when in fact there have no breakthroughs, when in fact long held theories of the cause of dementia are discredited by the results of drug trials based upon the theories, when in fact the pipeline of disease altering drugs so many of these folks talk about is yet another myth associated with the words "alzheimer's disease."

When will this madness stop? When will everyone reorder their priorities and begin to focus on psycho social research that seeks to find evidence based solutions to the everyday problems of those living with the symptoms of slipping cognitive functions?

When will we stop funding the crowds of researchers rushing up blind allies in the hopes finding a cure for "it" - something we have yet to all agree on what "it" really is, and what really causes "it"?

Madness is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results - thats where research is right now on dementia.

Everyone, stop what you are doing. Right now. Let's have a National conversation on what is the right thing to do next.

Let's listen to people who actually have the symptoms, rather than only to people who don't have the symptoms, and want to at all costs avoid getting them. Research into reducing and avoiding the physical and emotional costs to families dealing with dementia should be the first priority. I'm not proposing we cease the quest for a cure, let's just put people living with the problem first.

Richard Taylor

Alzheimer's from the Inside Out

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