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Alzheimer's Hope Fails in Drug Trial

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One of the world's great hopes for treating Alzheimer's disease fell flat Wednesday, when the drug failed a late-stage clinical trial.

The drug, called Dimebon, got its start as a hay fever pill in Russia in the 1980s, and appeared to stave off some of the mental problems tied to Alzheimer's in an earlier study.

But it showed no benefit in treating the mental decline or behavioral issues related to Alzheimer's when compared with a placebo, the drug developers, Pfizer and a California start-up called Medivation, said in a statement, The New York Times reported.

This current study involved 598 patients in Europe and in North and South America who had mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, the Times said.

The failure appeared to dash the drug makers' hopes for the drug, at least for use of the drug on its own to treat Alzheimer's. However, Medivation and Pfizer will conduct other trials combining Dimebon with other Alzheimer's drugs.

Dimebon is also being tested as a medication for Huntington's disease, the Times reported.

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