Howard Fillit, MD: Alzheimer Disease Drug Development Improvement

The ADDF's founding executive director and chief scientific officer spoke about the gains in clinical trials in the last 5 years.

“We’ve had a 100% failure rate in our drug development since 2004. But put it in a historical perspective.”

The last 2 decades have been a difficult time for clinicians treating Alzheimer disease. Between 1998 and 2017, almost 150 therapies for the condition have failed in clinical trials, with only 4 approvals.

That hasn’t stopped Howard Fillit, MD, the founding executive director and chief scientific officer of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), from being excited. Fillit noted that while there have been multiple failures, the last 20 years need to be taken in the context of the clinical history of treating Alzheimer. While conditions such as cancer have moved so far along into fields like precision medicine, their researchers have had a head start comparatively.

One of the disadvantages faced by those in Alzheimer is the ability to run high-quality clinical trials with high-quality therapies. In recent years, thanks in part to the introduction of validated biomarkers, much ground has been gained toward taking a real step in the treatment of Alzheimer.

At the ADDF’s 19th Annual Conference in Jersey City, New Jersey, Fillit sat with NeurologyLive to speak about the changes that have been made in recent years to improve the quality of clinical trials in the space.

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