Alzheimer's drug fails final test

June 30, 2008 3:24:20 PM PDT
In another blow to efforts to slow Alzheimer's Disease, the company developing a much-hoped-for drug has stopped its tests.

A once-promising drug to fight Alzheimer's disease has failed its clinical trial. The trial has now been stopped.

'Flurizan' was supposed to slow the growth of plaques in the brain. Those plaques, or fibrous tangles, are a sign of Alzheimer's.

It was in the final stage of nationwide tests, including some being done in Philadelphia

But today, the company stopped the project, saying Flurizan didn't improve thinking ability or the patients' ability to do daily activities.

The failure also casts doubt on several other plaque-inhibiting drugs under development. Eli Lilly is in the late-stage testing of a drug that works similarly to Flurizan, by inhibiting an enzyme called gamma secretase. Wyeth and Elan have late-stage clinical trials of a drug that tries to block the amyloid proteins in a different way. That drug had mixed resules in its middle-stages, but the results were encouraging enough the company moved forward with testing.