Ruvo Center: Alzheimer's study shows most drugs don't work - 8 News NOW

Ruvo Center: Alzheimer's study shows most drugs don't work

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LAS VEGAS -- An alarming statistic on a study done in Las Vegas shows most Alzheimer's drugs fail to work. The study was conducted by the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

The center found 244 drugs tested in the past decade failed to be effective. Only one has been approved for use. The failure rate of the drugs was 99.6 percent.

Nearly 44 million people, and 28,000 Nevadans, are living with Alzheimer's. The numbers are expected to increase as baby boomers age. Researchers say this first-ever analysis is a wake up call to the nation's medical community.

"I can't remember a whole lot of things I used to," said Carole Bean, who is being treated at Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

"Our new findings represent a call to action," said Jeffrey Cummings, director of Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

He found nearly all drug trials nationwide have been a failure over the last decade for a number of reasons.

 "We need federal dollars to increase the discovery work at the level of understanding Alzheimer's disease. We need pharmaceutical companies to make a greater commitment to this. We need biotechnology companies to come in and do innovative work to develop new therapies, we need advocacy groups and philanthropists," Cummings said.

He says another contributing factor may be that researchers have been testing drugs too late.

"So we are now doing prevention trials where people are cognitively normal but at high risk for developing Alzheimer's disease to see if we give a drug early do we prevent an emergence of Alzheimer's disease."

If nothing changes in the medical community, Cummings predicts a grim future.

"By the year 2050, there will be about 50,000 people in Nevada with Alzheimer's disease,"

Despite the statistics, Bean participates in drug trials in hopes her blood cells might help doctors detect Alzheimer's sooner and save someone else's life.

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