Neurodegenerative diseases affect the brain and diagnosing and treating these can be very challenging. Medical science has struggled for a long time in this area because it is a difficult task to get the medications to the brain which has a blood supply that is distinct from the rest of the body. Alzheimer’s is one such disease and seeking a cure for this seems to be next to impossible.
As a result, quite a few companies have given up on research in this field. The latest to cease efforts in this direction is Pfizer.
Recently, after many expensive failures over the last decade, the organization declared that it will no longer pursue its research into generating medications to tackle Alzheimer’s disease. This comes at a time when the CDC has said that death rates from Alzheimer’s have risen by 55% in the US.
What Prompted Pfizer’s Withdrawal?
The last few years have not been kind to clinical trials in the field. Pfizer as well as Johnson & Johnson had to suspend extended research into bapineuzumab, the antibody drug, in 2012. The drug’s dismal performance in late-stage trials involving Alzheimer’s patients was the reason for this move.
Why is it Difficult to Treat Dementia?
The fact is, there is no cure for dementia. The treatments available today can assist with managing symptoms but they hold no promise of recovery. So, why is it so difficult to use drugs to treat dementia? Is any progress being made in the search for a cure?
It is estimated that 46.8 million people across the world are afflicted by dementia. What complicates matters is that dementia can be brought on by over fifty different causes making it an extremely complex issue. In fact, dementia is more of an all-encompassing term for various conditions that result in progressive deterioration of the human brain.