“If you are a mouse and suffer from depression, we can cure you!”. You may have heard similar statements for other diseases, which is a general reflection on the current state of drug development. After spending billions of dollars in pharmaceutical drug development only about 30 new drugs reached the market last year -- a number that is higher than in previous years, but still. It's not good news for patients, especially those suffering from mental illness, for whom the outlook on new drugs is even bleaker. Why the dry pipeline?
Nearly 30 million people worldwide are affected by the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the most recent estimates indicate that this number will quadruple within the next 40 years. The concern increases as AD is the leading cause of dementia, and, so far, there is no effective treatment to slow the progression or delay the onset of this malady.
Recovery from brain trauma like injury or a stroke is a complex process and one that is not yet under precise human control. More often than not, the process of resumption of blood flow to injured parts of the brain also creates additional damage. In addition to physical damage, exposure to extreme conditions like sub-zero temperatures as well as extremely hot conditions can also result in damage to neurons.
After he suffered a stroke in 2005, Tony Nicklinson developed locked-in syndrome, a rare condition that left the middle-aged Brit fully paralyzed from the neck down. He lived on, mentally alert but wholly incapable of taking care of himself. He could not walk, feed himself or brush his own teeth. Devastated when a British court refused to allow him to commit assisted suicide, Nicklinson stopped eating or accepting fluids. He developed pneumonia, refused antibiotics, and died this past August 22, 2012.