This week there were two huge stories about Alzheimer's disease (AD). First was the failure of Solanezumab, an Eli Lilly-developed drug. Unlike early drugs, which are typically small molecules, Solanezumab is an antibody based therapeutic designed to bind to excess amyloid beta and facilitate its removal from the brain.
The three main reasons why a drug doesn't go through clinical trials are (1) the drug does not work (that is, effect the process it is designed to achieve), or (2) the drug generates untenable side effects, or (3) the drug has acceptable side effects and works as intended, but does not significantly improve the condition of the patients.
Every couple of years, our administrator signs all of us up for CPR training and no one has the balls to say 'no'. Surprisingly, the training is possibly the best meeting of the year, in terms of pure entertainment. Mainly from the torrent of unintentionally sexual remarks and situations we are bombarded with in the name of saving lives and corporate pseudoresponsibility.
What follows are my actual notes from two sessions (spanning three years).
A bit of news that's been simmering for a long time and is now properly cooked: After more than a decade in Chicago, Susan and I are moving to San Diego.
This week I attended the annual Society for Neuroscience conference. Cruising through the endless poster sessions and presentations triggered a story buried in the latent neurons within my cortex, an old story from my days (years, actually) in graduate school.
I overplan on occasion. Sometimes this goes too far, like when I make plans for things that will likely never happen. Then again, considering the abundance of news stories advising viewers on what to do when they win the powerball it seems extremely likely that I'm not the only one doing this.
But fuck it; Trump got elected the other day, so I say it's time to start planning for things that are only msrginally more likely than the lottery. Like what you would do if you're caught cheating. Haphazard estimates of infidelity say around 13% of people have extramarital sex.
Full disclosure: I've been working on this problem for years. This game began as a fun little hypothetical. "Hey Carl, imagine your wife walked in on you in bed with Jeanine from HR. What do you say to her right then to prevent her from divorcing your sorry ass?" This type of scenario became more real when I discovered the reality TV show Cheaters. For those of you not familiar with the show's premise, it's a bit like Jerry Springer with spy cameras - a man or woman who suspects their significant other of infidelity enlists Cheaters' cadre of equally suspect investigators, who proceed to invade the suspect's privacy for a week or so, until they've collected definitive evidence of infidelity. Typically, the show's host coordinates breaking the bad news with an impromptu opportunity for the victim to have a confrontation with the philanderer, often while en flagrante delicto. This recipe allowed the world to watch cheaters squirm under direct questioning and - in my case, at least - note what they did right and wrong.
When I first began working in a lab, I was incredibly naive about what it took to cure a disease. Now, as a jaded and pessimistic veteran, I am firmly steeped in an 'I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it' attitude. Since many of you have not experienced the constant crash-and-burns of translational research, I'd like to share a short story on one of my many, many failures to illustrate why drug development is so goddamn hard.
Noah's Inner Monologue
Scribblings of a man who can barely operate an idiotproof website.