Tuesday, 7 August 2012

'Wonder jab' fails in clinical trials

The Daily Express is well known for its very premature front page headlines declaring some new 'cure' for Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease, arthritis or blindness.

On 15 February 2011, the Express reported:

It said about Alzheimer's disease:

The world’s first Alzheimer’s vaccine could be available in the UK by the end of this year if, as expected, it gets the all-clear from licensing bodies.

Called bapineuzumab, it appears to slow or even reverse the build-up of the harmful brain deposits thought to cause the disease. The vaccine contains antibodies that are designed to prompt the immune system to attack foreign material.

Existing drugs merely ease the symptoms or slow progression of the disease but trial data suggests the vaccine may cut harmful deposits by a quarter.

Today, the Express has a rather different story on this 'wonder jab', bapineuzumab:

Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are ending development of an intravenous formulation of a drug to treat Alzheimer's disease after the treatment failed in two late-stage clinical trials.

The companies hoped bapineuzumab intravenous would slow the decline in physical and mental function for patients with Alzheimer's. However the drug did not work better than a placebo in two late-stage trials in patients who had mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease...

The two companies said on July 23 that the drug had failed in a different trial. All other studies are now being discontinued.

This is a clear example of why papers such as the Express should avoid sensationalist headlines that can give false hope.

(Hat-tip to Fflaps at the Mailwatch Forum)

1 comment:

  1. The Express' track record in these things is little better than the Old Moore's Almanac.


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