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The meniscus of disappointment rises inside you: That domain of human biology that the medicine hoped to target may never be breached therapeutically. Investment blogs are writing that Neuralstem Is A Big Winner and boasting about how much Neuralstem stock they were savvy enough to hold on to! But from what I can gather from the press release, this isn’t a new trial.
And so the rest of us gave a heavy sigh, shed a single tear, and went back to telling ourselves that maybe vortioxetine wasn’t exactly an SSRI, in ways. But the reason I’m writing about all of this now is that Neuralstem has just put out a new press release saying that actually, good news! It’s new secondary endpoints from the first trial, that Neuralstem thinks cast a new light on the results. Often during a drug trial, people want to measure whether the drug works in multiple different ways.
For depression, these are usually rating scales that ask about depressive symptoms – things like “On a scale of 1 to 5, how sad are you?
This is what they released in July that had everybody so disappointed.From last month’s New York Times: The first thing you feel when a [drug] trial fails is a sense of shame. You know, of course, that experimental drugs have a poor track record – but even so, this drug had seemed so promising (you cannot erase the image of the cancer cells dying under the microscope).You feel as if you’ve shortchanged the Hippocratic Oath […] There’s also a more existential shame.In an era when Big Pharma might have macerated the last drips of wonder out of us, it’s worth reiterating the fact: Medicines are notoriously hard to discover.The cosmos yields human drugs rarely and begrudgingly – and when a promising candidate fails to work, it is as if yet another chemical morsel of the universe has been thrown into the dumpster. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what’s going on; the results themselves were presented at a conference and aren’t directly available.