Target date for Alzheimer’s treatment slipping away

With a population that is quickly aging it’s no surprise that there are considerable resources dedicated to treating, and maybe even curing, the scourge of Alzheimer’s.  But did you know that there is actually a strategy behind the ongoing research into Alzheimer’s treatments?

This comes from the  National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease developed in 2012. At that point 2025 was set as a target for finding an effective treatment. But as this date quickly approaches, effective treatments are as elusive as ever.

What makes 2025 so daunting is that the failure rate for Alzheimer’s treatment drug trials is quite high. Consider for a moment that the failure rate for regular pharmaceutical drugs is 89.6 percent while the rate for Alzheimer’s drugs that make it to the testing phase is a staggering 99.6 percent.

So when breathless pharmaceutical press releases champion the latest Alzheimer’s treatment, they might get some notice on the local news – even as many in the industry don’t even bother to look up and take notice.

Dr. Aaron Ritter of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas was a researcher on Alzheimer’s drug treatments for the last few years and says despite the lack of real progress to date, the problem is pressing.

“A lot of the epidemiology work says that, if we don’t find better cures by 2025, that, in 2050, the health economies are not going to be able to handle the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease,” he says.

I watch these research updates with key interest because some of the clients I work with have had loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia and the urgency for a treatment is real. This disease needs a cure and I wince whenever I read of another failed drug trial.

The search for an Alzheimer’s treatment and cure is a long road. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that a breakthrough will come.

That it won’t seem to come fast enough is something we all have to live with for the time being. But here’s hoping.