New Alzheimer’s trial results announced
With 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK, and this number set to rise to over one million by 2025, urgency is building around dementia research and the hunt for new treatments that could benefit the millions of people around the world living with the condition.
Many potential drugs for Alzheimer’s target amyloid – one of the hallmark proteins that is thought to cause the nerve cell damage that leads to the symptoms of dementia. One example of an anti-amyloid drug being trialled in people is aducanumab, an antibody that tags amyloid and drives its clearance from the brain.
Aducanumab hit the headlines in March 2015, when researchers took the floor at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases and Related Neurological Disorders in Nice, France. They used this platform to announce initial results from an early-phase clinical trial in people with mild Alzheimer’s disease. This study has grabbed attention once again, as the results discussed at that conference have now been peer-reviewed and published in Nature – a leading scientific publication.
This phase Ib study was only carried out in 165 people, but nevertheless the findings showed evidence that aducanumab can remove the build-up of amyloid in the brain. Although the study was too small to robustly analyse the effect of the drug on cognition, the researchers did see slower decline in memory and thinking skills in people given the drug, providing promising evidence that clearing the amyloid protein could be a successful approach to treating the disease.
This drug is now undergoing a phase III clinical trial called ENGAGE, involving a greater number of participants and currently recruiting in the UK as well as many other countries across the world. It joins many other research studies looking for willing volunteers using the research register Join Dementia Research.
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