According to a report released by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), more than 900 new medicines are now in the research and development pipeline to treat the diseases of aging.
The new medicines include 146 medicines for heart disease and stroke and 399 for cancer. Alzheimer’s disease alone could afflict 16 million people by the middle of this century; America’s research-based pharmaceutical companies are currently developing 27 medicines to treat it. Other medicines now being researched include:
• 48 for diabetes, of which half of all cases occur in people over age 55. A new, first-in-class medicine in development has been shown in clinical trials to significantly improve long-term glycemic control;
• 20 for osteoporosis, a major health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans age 50 and older; and
• 19 to treat depression, which affects an estimated 6.5 million Americans 65 and older;
• 17 for Parkinson’s disease, 60,000 new cases of which are diagnosed each year. A nervous system growth factor gene therapy being studied aims to deliver the growth factor, GDNF, into the brain to prevent degeneration of nerve cells and the loss of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Other medicines in development target bladder and kidney diseases, eye disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, osteoarthritis, pain, prostate disease, respiratory and lung disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, skin conditions, age-related macular degeneration and other conditions of aging. All of these medicines are either now in human clinical trials or are awaiting the approval of the Food and Drug Administration.
“As life expectancy increases, older Americans face challenges to their health, productivity and independence,” said PhRMA president and CEO Billy Tauzin. “Research-based pharmaceutical companies are actively searching for treatments and cures to help patients live healthier lives as they age.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives.