From the Washington Post, by Melissa Bailey February 6, 2017
Despite a 99 percent failure rate and a recent setback, Alzheimer’s researchers are plowing ahead with hundreds of experiments — and a boost in federal money — to try to crack a deadly disease that has flummoxed them for decades.
A law passed by Congress in December and signed by President Barack Obama sets aside $3 billion over 10 years to fund research of brain diseases and precision medicine, a shot in the arm for Alzheimer’s research. The law, called the 21st Century Cures Act, also includes prize money to encourage Alzheimer’s experiments.
But billions of dollars have so far made little progress in decoding the memory-robbing disease, which affects 5 million Americans. Alzheimer’s is the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. Decades of research have not produced a single drug that alters its course.
December began with a major setback: Eli Lilly shared disappointing results of a late-stage clinical trial of its experimental drug solanezumab, which failed to significantly slow Alzheimer’s progression.
But scientists aren’t giving up on the main hypothesis behind Eli Lilly’s trial: that Alzheimer’s can be defeated by using drugs to attack amyloid plaques that build up in the brain. Some scientists believe these cause the disease.
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I'm a research-driven Boomer with concerns - like many of my friends - about keeping our minds sharp and leaning-in against the age-related mental impairments that impact our parents - and may impact lots of us in the years ahead.
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