Scientists soon may embark on new ways to investigate Alzheimer’s disease, following numerous failed attempts to find a drug that targets amyloid-beta plaques.

The expected shift follows expensive and futile efforts by drug makers to find a so-called silver bullet for the disease’s hallmark indication. The latest disappointment was revealed in March. That’s when Biogen and partner Eisai announced they would stop two large clinical trials of aducanumab, an amyloid-targeting drug.

In January, Roche similarly announced with would stop two of its Phase 3 trials for CREAD 1 and 2. In fact, there have been nearly 150 failed attempts between 1998 and 2017 to develop an Alzheimer’s drug.

One of the promising new targets is the brain’s wiring, according to Daniel Alkon, M.D., president and chief scientific officer of the biotechnology company Neurotrope. Alkon noted that wiring is one of the earliest losses seen among Alzheimer’s sufferers. By finding ways to prevent connection losses, the disease progression could potentially be delayed or even reversed, he noted.

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