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February 3, 2020

Rescuing Research Participants After Alzheimer Trials Stop Early: Sending Out an SOS

Author Affiliations
  • 1Perelman School of Medicine, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 2Perelman School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA Neurol. Published online February 3, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.4974

Early on the morning of March 21, 2019, Nancy Childs awoke and, as is her habit, began scrolling through her news feed. There was bad news for her and her husband, Mike. Biogen and Eisai had abruptly halted their phase III trial of aducanumab to slow cognitive and functional impairment in persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia caused by Alzheimer disease. Headlines described the trial’s early end as “a major setback”1 and “a blow to hopes for new treatment.”2 Biogen’s stock plummeted with the news, posting its worst day in 14 years.3 The Childs’ hopes plummeted as well.

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