Rethinking Alzheimer’s research, beyond amyloid deposition, via new funding models

Alzheimer_Word_cloud_conceptHow a new approach to fund­ing Alzheimer’s research could pay off (MIT News):

More than 5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans suf­fer from Alzheimer’s dis­ease, the afflic­tion that erodes mem­o­ry and oth­er men­tal capac­i­ties, but no drugs tar­get­ing the dis­ease have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion since 2003…Lo and three co-authors pro­pose cre­at­ing a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship that would fund research for a diverse array of drug-dis­cov­ery projects simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. Such an approach would increase the chances of a ther­a­peu­tic break­through, they say, and the inclu­sion of pub­lic fund­ing would help mit­i­gate the risks and costs of Alzheimer’s research for the pri­vate sector.

The main hypoth­e­sis on the cause of Alzheimer’s involves amy­loid depo­si­tion, the buildup of plaques in the brain that impair neu­ro­log­i­cal func­tion; most bio­med­ical efforts to tack­le the dis­ease have focused on this issue. For the study, Ho and Kosik, lead­ing experts in Alzheimer’s research, com­piled a list of 64 con­ceiv­able approach­es to drug dis­cov­ery, address­ing a range of bio­log­i­cal mech­a­nisms that may be involved in the disease.”

Study: Par­al­lel Dis­cov­ery of Alzheimer’s Ther­a­peu­tics (Sci­ence Trans­la­tion­al Medicine)

  • Abstract: As the preva­lence of Alzheimer’s dis­ease (AD) grows, so do the costs it impos­es on soci­ety. Sci­en­tif­ic, clin­i­cal, and finan­cial inter­ests have focused cur­rent drug dis­cov­ery efforts large­ly on the sin­gle bio­log­i­cal path­way that leads to amy­loid depo­si­tion. This effort has result­ed in slow progress and dis­ap­point­ing out­comes. Here, we describe a “port­fo­lio approach” in which mul­ti­ple dis­tinct drug devel­op­ment projects are under­tak­en simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. Although a greater upfront invest­ment is required, the prob­a­bil­i­ty of at least one suc­cess should be high­er with “mul­ti­ple shots on goal,” increas­ing the effi­cien­cy of this under­tak­ing. How­ev­er, our port­fo­lio sim­u­la­tions show that the risk-adjust­ed return on invest­ment of par­al­lel dis­cov­ery is insuf­fi­cient to attract pri­vate-sec­tor fund­ing. Nev­er­the­less, the future cost sav­ings of an effec­tive AD ther­a­py to Medicare and Med­ic­aid far exceed this invest­ment, sug­gest­ing that gov­ern­ment fund­ing is both essen­tial and finan­cial­ly beneficial.

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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