Pfizer drug reportedly linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer's
SARASOTA- Pfizer reportedly had research popular arthritis drug Enbrel could help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by over 60%, but according to The Washington Post they kept those results hidden to avoid a costly clinical trial.
The reported risks of reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s should be approached with caution, according to Roskamp Institute’s Executive Director Dr. Michael Mullan.
“Association isn’t causation,” Dr. Michael Mullan said. “Big, big difference, so just because something is associated with Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean that’s a driver.”
Dr. Mullan says they’ve studied the use of arthritis non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs to treat Alzheimer’s in the past.
“The problem was when we tried non-steroidals to treat Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Mullan said. “Even early stage, actually even before people had Alzheimer’s it didn’t work.”
If Pfizer doesn’t release more data on the drug and research, it’s hard to say if this drug works differently.
“In general it would be very helpful to see the results of their internal analysis and the analysis of others who are working in this area.”
That key research information could help institute’s like Roskamp further their own research.
“We would like to know how old are the patients,” Dr. Mullan said. “How long were they treated, how long were they treated before the risk of Alzheimer’s diseases, that’s all very important data.”
Dr. Mullan says Enbrel is a large drug that doesn’t reach the brain well, but it could offer insights into the development of new drugs.
“This things sucks up a molecule, a very noxious molecule that drives inflammation,” Dr. Mullan said. “And if we had a molecule like that in the brain, a drug that we could get into the brain with, that would be very helpful.”
Dr. Mullan says this is one of the directions research is moving towards.
“We know inflammation is a huge driver in the disease,” Dr. Mullan said. “The problem is, as you know, there’s been many failures in trying to treat Alzhiemer’s disease, and the real question here is when would you have to intervene with anti-inflammatories.”
Dr. Mullan says clinical trials are needed before recommending and off-label use of the drug, because no medication is without risk.