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    Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s researcher hopeful, despite new drug’s failure

cover of Mayo Clinic book on Alzheimer's disease
Many patient advocates were disappointed recently when a major pharmaceutical company announced its clinical drug trial attempting to slow the advancement of Alzheimer's disease had failed to show significant benefit.

The trial used Eli Lilly's drug solanezumab, an antibody, to try to target the building blocks of amyloid plaques in the brains of the those with Alzheimer's. The destruction of these plaques, which are a key player in the disease, had the potential to provide stabilization for Alzheimer's patients. This goal, however was not reached in the phase III clinical trial.

"The question comes up, 'Is amyloid still a viable target in Alzheimer's disease?' and I think the answer is still yes," says Dr. Ronald Petersen, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic. "The [solanezumab] trial may have failed for one or two or more reasons, but one being that we're still attacking the disease too late the process. We're attacking when some plaques are already in the brain, and that may be too late."

Watch: Dr. Ronald Petersen discusses solanezumab and Alzheimer's research.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites are in the downloads. Dr. Petersen is also available for interviews. Expert Alert: Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., discusses future of Alzheimer’s research after drug trial fails