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Dementia research 'in trouble'

20th September 2012

Alzheimer’s Research UK has said more support is needed for research into dementia.

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It fears that drugs companies may “retreat” from research in the area unless they get better backing in a warning that follows disappointing results in clinical trials.

Figures from the ABPI show there are over 200 medicines under development for Alzheimer’s but there has been disappointment in recent weeks with poor results from trials into the drugs bapineuzumab and solanezumab, which failed to show benefits that researchers had hoped to see.

The charity is now concerned that UK companies may decide it is too risky to put resources into dementia research.

Describing the results from the latest research as very disappointing, science director Dr Eric Karran said: “If you’re running a business and you have options to find important new medicines in cancer, in diabetes or in neuroscience inevitably I think you have to place your bets where ultimately you will get a better chance of a return on your investment.”

He called for a new model of funding to ensure the pharmaceutical industry did not “retreat” from the field of research.

Dr Karran added: “Now is certainly not the time to be giving up. But we need to accept that this is a challenging area and really bring all of our resources together from the pharmaceutical industry, from academia and from government, to tackle it.”

Across the UK, about 800,000 people have dementia with the majority having Alzheimer’s disease and as numbers grow, experts say that the search for new treatments is becoming more urgent.

 

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