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Pfizer’s Unforgettable Letdown for Alzheimer’s Breakthrough

For years doctors have searched for a miracle medicine to end the progression of one of the most feared medical conditions in America: Alzheimer’s disease. While countless breakthroughs in this area have provided healthcare professionals with expert knowledge, there still seem to be pieces missing in the Alzheimer’s puzzle.

In 2007, Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson released a new monoclonal antibody known as bapineuzumab in hope of finding this missing link. The new Bapineuzumab IV would have to go through several high-stake clinical tests to confirm its effectiveness in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and improving the mental health of patients. However, after failing many trials, it’s back to the drawing board for manufacturers and researchers as Pfizer has announced on August 6 that they will not be filing for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Trials were conducted on patients carrying ApoE4, the gene believed to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease, as well non-ApoE4 carriers. The two pharmaceutical giants had looked forward to the possibility of bapineuzumab successfully preventing Alzheimer’s from deteriorating the minds of its victims. Much to the dismay of Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson- who had invested over $400 million into the project- phase III test results showed no signs of improvement in patients’ cognitive ability. These results not only left these companies with hole in their wallets, but a sense of defeat after losing a potential cure to a disease that affects so many.

Although these upsets are commonplace for innovators studying  diseases such as Alzheimer’s, doctors have come closer and closer to  finding out how exactly Alzheimer’s works and what causes it. When a promising new medicine like bapineuzumab is unsuccessful, it causes much frustration. But, for many developers, the fact that this disease affects over 5 million loved ones in America gives them the courage and willpower to continue searching for a remedy. As Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed 700 times… I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work”.