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The black August of research

Rome – It seems like a decidedly unfavorable period for drug trials: well in the last few days four very promising molecules they have been abandoned because they are not very effective or with too great side effects, confirming the great difficulty in moving from the laboratory to the patient's bed.

The latest company in chronological order to have to abandon a clinical study is Amgen, which a few days ago announced the interruption of "phase 3" of the experimentation of a drug for pancreatic cancer in the metastatic stage. Ganitumab, this is the name of the product, «did not show any particular side effects», reads a company release, but was unable to improve the patient's prognosis: «Ten years ago it was thought that drugs like this, that affect a hormone called insulin-like growth factor, were the most interesting news in oncology – explained Leonard Saltz, a researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to the New York Times – But at least 11 companies that had molecules similar to this one in development none have had positive results.

Before Amgen, it was the companies Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, at the beginning of last week, which stopped the tests on Bapineuzumab, a drug developed jointly which was supposed to stop the development of Alzheimer's in patients who had a mild or moderate form of the disease: again, the decision was made by the poor results, although a trial on patients who do not yet have the disease should still take place.

A few days later it was Merck who announced that, for unspecified "economic reasons", the development of a drug against cholesterol had been discontinued.

However, the week before, Britsol-Myers-Squibb, another pharmaceutical multinational, had inaugurated this "black August" of research, announcing the halt to the experimentation of a drug for the treatment of hepatitis C: in this case it was not the lack of efficacy that led to the decision, but the fact that at least one of the patients undergoing the treatment had a problem with

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco