good use for our $$$
In a clinical trial that could lead to treatments that prevent Alzheimer’s disease, people with a genetic predisposition for the disease, but who do not yet have symptoms, will be given a drug intended to stop them from developing it, federal officials announced Tuesday.
…The $100 million study will run for five years, but results on sophisticated tests may indicate in as little as two years whether the drug is helping to delay memory decline or brain changes…
Federal money. Not the worst use for it — but I gotta ask, could this be done more economically by the private sector? Lotta money might be made there…
Here’s the odd bit:
Most of the study’s participants [300 family members] will be drawn from an extended family of 5,000 people who live in Medellin, Colombia, and remote mountain villages outside that city.
The family is believed to have more members who suffer from Alzheimer’s than any other in the world.
How did they find these people? Why all the focus on people “with gene mutations guaranteed to cause early-onset Alzheimer’s” and not on the “conventional Alzheimer’s”? I guess it’s a place to start…
$50 million from the current year’s NIH budget to pay for research including the Colombia trial.
An additional budget increase of $100 million is proposed for 2013 for research, education, caregiver support and data collection.
The Colombia drug trial will be financed with $16 million from the National Institutes of Health, about $15 million from private donors through the Banner Institute and $65 million from Genentech, the drug’s U.S. manufacturer.
Oh… it does include private money…
[Dr. Eric Reiman, executive director of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, a lead researcher] said his team worked to persuade pharmaceutical companies to invest in the unusual, and sensitive, research. “We would have to be like Mark Twain,” he said, “getting the companies to pay to whitewash the fence and give us access to their most promising treatments.”
Researchers, U.S. officials and drug companies were especially sensitive to the fact that the study would be conducted on people in a developing country, many of whom have little education, paltry incomes and a history of superstitions about the disease they call “la bobera” — the foolishness.
The risks, he said, were balanced by the fact that if nothing is done, “they’re going to get this terrible, terrible disease for sure.”
Well, their means are beyond my ability to influence: I hope they come up with some useful information to fight this disease.