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Progress Towards the Treatment and Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer's Research Center

Drug Development

Go To CLINICALTRIALS.GOV for trials in your area. Highlights from drugs in development include:

Davunetide (AL-108) is a treatment based upon a protein found naturally in the brain, which is being developed by Allon Therapeutics Inc. for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. The results of a 12-week human intranasal trial of AL- 108 were promising, showing a significant improvement in short-term recall and working memory in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer’s patients. Additional Phase II trials will begin later this year.

Bapineuzumab is designed to bind to and remove the beta- amyloid peptide that accumulates in the brains of individuals with Alzhimer’s disease. Bapineuzumab is given as a series of injections, delivering antibodies to beta-amyloid. This approach is called “passive immunization,” since the antibodies itself. Large Phase III study is underway.

Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) is a medication composed of a mixture of antibodies derived from human blood currently being used to treat people with primary immunodeficiency disorders. Baxter Healthcare is now investigating IVIg as a potential anti-amyloid therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. Results from an 18 month IVIg Phase II clinical trial showed significant and clinically relevant improvements in cognitive and global clinical measures. A large-scale, 18-month, Phase III clinical trial of IVIg is now underway to test for long-term IVIg benefits.

LY2062430 , a monoclonal antibody, was used in a 12-week human Phase II trial, which showed binding of the antibody to beta amyloid in the brain, thus increasing the rate of its removal from the body. However, the antibody did not change cognitive scores or the total amount of amyloid plaque within the body as a whole. In light of these results, it was suggested that the plaques do begin to dissolve after 12 weeks of treatment and move from the brain to the blood, but more treatment time is required for measurable cognitive improvements. Two Phase III studies are underway.

Methylthionium chloride (MTC, rember ™ ) is a new drug aimed at alleviating the cognitive and behavioral deficits in Alzheimer’s patients due to the buildup of brain lesions known as neurofibrillary tangles. Researchers at TauRx have shown that rember™ dissolves these tangles, blocks their toxic effects, and has cognitive and behavioral benefits in both humans and animal models. In fact, the greatest effect of the drug was seen in the brain regions most severely affected in Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers now aim to confirm these findings in a larger Phase III trial.

PBT2 a compound developed by Prana Biotechnology, has been shown to reduce the harmful interaction of beta amyloid protein, the main component of plaques, with metals and restore normal functioning to brain cells. A promising Phase IIa trial was recently completed using the drug, which led to a reduction in amyloid beta proteins as well as some cognitive improvements in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. Phase IIb trial is being planned for the drug.

Souvenaid ™ a once-a-day medical drink consisting of a combination of naturally occurring nutrients, was designed to enhance brain cell outgrowth, synapse formation, and neurotransmitter release in an effort to improve cognitive function. The drink, developed by researchers at MIT and sponsored by Danone Research, was found to improve some forms of cognition in patients with mild Alzheimer’s, who took the drink over a 12-week period. Three follow up clinical trails are already in progress.