Back to previous

Welcome to The Clinic

The final stage of research involves testing potential new drugs, interventions or approaches to care that could improve the quality of life of people with dementia. Before reaching patients, new treatments must go through clinical trials to ensure they are safe and effective.

Clinical trials for dementia are underway right now, but getting to this stage is still no guarantee of success – so we need more research, more testing, and more trials to improve the lives of people with dementia. You can be part of this progress too by taking part in research or signing up to Brains for Dementia Research to become a brain donor.


The Clinic

During 2012, there were some big news stories around two drugs that failed at the final stage of clinical testing (phase III). One called bapineuzumab appeared to fail completely, whereas a second called solanezumab did show some benefits in people with mild Alzheimer’s and is being tested further.

Potential new treatments or interventions that make it into clinical trials in people should have a good evidence base behind them. But that still does not guarantee success.

For a new treatment to be licensed for patients, clinical trials need to show that it is safe and makes a measurable improvement to people’s daily lives. It is hugely disappointing when potential new treatments fall at this final hurdle – but even negative trials help scientists to refine their ideas and come back with a new and better approach.

Although it can take some years for trials to take place, it is always exciting to see potential new dementia drugs taken through to clinical trial stage. We need see many more trials taking place to help us put new treatments into the hands of people with dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK’s newly announced Drug Discovery Institute and Dementia Consortium will bring together the expertise needed to translate the best discoveries from academic research through to benefits for patients sooner.