A database of 4,000 Alzheimer’s patients will be created so that pharmaceutical companies can pool information to generate new ideas for treatments.
Following consultation with government regulators and the National Institutes of Health, a dozen drug companies will take the unusual step of sharing the data on thousands of patients.
Previous attempts to create new Alzheimer’s medications – ones that might help before too much of a person’s memory is lost – have been fruitless.
It is hoped scientists will be able to use the results from the trials to work out what to study next.
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s could be tackled by brain researchers not affiliated with drug companies using the findings.
“This is the kind of thing that’s not going to produce a new treatment next week,” cautioned Food and Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein. But, “it’s the kind of collaboration that does represent a major shift in thinking about how to accelerate drug development.”
Called the Coalition Against Major Diseases, the collaboration pairs patient-advocacy groups with such pharmaceutical giants as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and AstraZeneca. It is led by the Critical Path Institute, a nonprofit partnership with the FDA that aims to speed discovery of new drugs.
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