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Medtech Impact on Wellness

Over the last 20 years, there have been about 150 failed attempts to get different Alzheimer’s drugs on the market. Why? Sometimes it’s because the drugs showed toxicity in clinical trials, and other times it’s because study subjects simply weren’t responding to the drugs. When the clinical target and endpoint of a clinical study is not met, the drug simply won’t move forward.

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But what if there are unseen variables at play that are pointing to the inefficacy of otherwise efficacious drugs? What if drugs which actually do hold great potential to treat Alzheimer’s are being rejected simply because the trials themselves aren’t being run properly, or because the right patients aren’t being enrolled?

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As the CEO and founder of Vivid Genomics, these are the kinds of questions Julie Collens and her team are investigating.

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“There are lots of reasons why drugs can fail aside from them not working,” says Collens, as she explains how different stages and forms of Alzheimer’s can affect how a patient responds to certain drugs, as well as cognitive impairment from vitamin B deficiency, vascular dementia, or having recently suffered a stroke. Their goal is to develop and implement genetic-based tests to identify forms of variation in the disease of Alzheimer’s that are known to exist, and thereby help pharmaceutical companies run better clinical trials, perform better analyses, and get more drugs approved.

Collens describes in detail the four prototypes Vivid Genomics has already developed, how they are utilizing information from genome-wide association studies in combination with the data they’re collecting to identify predictive effects on disease, and the general challenges presented by the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

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