In DepthBiomedicine

Doubts persist for claimed Alzheimer's drug

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Science  13 Dec 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6471, pp. 1298
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6471.1298

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Summary

Last week, Biogen gave its first scientific presentation in defense of its startling claim to have developed the first drug that can change the devastating course of Alzheimer's disease. At the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease congress in San Diego, California, Samantha Budd Haeberlein, Biogen's head of clinical development, tried to clarify what had emboldened the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based biotech to say in October it would soon ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve its antibody drug, aducanumab, even though the company publicly declared the drug a failure back in March. After examining more patient data, she explained, investigators found in one trial that the higher of two tested doses led to 22% less cognitive decline after 78 weeks than a placebo. However, the small margins separating the treated and placebo groups and the failure of a second trial leave some researchers skeptical.

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