The Phase 3 clinical trial tested the compound solanezumab in people at high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease who are not yet symptomatic.
Solanezumab is an antibody designed to bind to the protein beta-amyloid in the brain. Beta-amyloid forms harmful plaques in Alzheimer's disease. However, the study did not show a beneficial effect of solanezumab on cognitive performance or amyloid clearance.
Read the full report in the German Medical Journal "Ärzteblatt".
What does this mean for Alzheimer's research?
The study shows that it is not enough to leave the antibodies in the brain, but that it is important to promote the degradation of beta-amyloid to slow or prevent the disease.
Two other drugs, lecanemab and donanemab, already approved or about to be approved in the United States, do just that. Both target different forms of beta-amyloid and have been shown in studies to reduce plaques and delay cognitive decline.
So rather than seeing the results of the solanezumab trial as a defeat, we should see it as another step toward better understanding the mystery of Alzheimer's disease.
The field of Alzheimer's disease research is complex and challenging, but there is hope and great progress, as shown by the new drugs lecanemab and donanemab.