Studies: Alzheimer drug may stabilize brain plaque (Update)
An experimental drug that failed to stop mental decline in Alzheimer's patients in the U.S. and Canada also showed some potential benefit in slowing brain plaque, fuller results of two major studies show.
Some patients on the drug had stable levels of brain plaque and less evidence of nerve damage compared to others who were given a dummy treatment, researchers reported Tuesday in Sweden.
About 35 million people worldwide have dementia, and Alzheimer's is the most common type. Current medicines such as Aricept and Namenda just temporarily ease symptoms. There is no known cure.
The drug, called bapineuzumab, is made by Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. The new results suggest it might work if given earlier in the course of the disease, before so much damage and memory loss have occurred that it might not be possible to reverse, experts say.
"We're very disappointed that we were not able to come up with a treatment to provide to our dementia patients in the near term," said Dr. Reisa Sperling, director of the Alzheimer's center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and leader of one of the studies.
But brain imaging and spinal fluid tests are "very encouraging" and suggest "that we were doing something to the biology of the disease" by giving the drug, she said.
"We've got a path forward" now to test it in people with mild mental impairment or those who show plaque on brain imaging but have not yet developed symptoms of dementia, Sperling said.
Of people with mild cognitive impairment, about 15 to 20 percent a year will develop Alzheimer's disease.
Bapineuzumab is designed to attach to and help clear amyloid, the stuff that makes up the sticky plaque that clogs patients' brains, harming nerve cells and impairing memory and thought. Doctors don't know whether amyloid is a cause or just a symptom of Alzheimer's, but many companies are testing drugs to try to remove it.
Two studies of more than 1,000 patients each in the United States and Canada tested bapineuzumab in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. Sperling's study involved people with a gene that raises the risk of developing the disease. Dr. Stephen Salloway, a neurologist at Brown Medical School, led the other study of people without the gene.
Both researchers have consulted for the companies that make the drug and presented results Tuesday at a neurology conference in Sweden.
The companies previously announced that the 18-month studies failed to meet their main goal of slowing mental decline or improving activities of daily living.
However, brain imaging on a subset of patients in Sperling's study found 9 percent less amyloid in those on bapineuzumab compared to those on a dummy treatment. The drug group had stable levels while the others developed more plaque. Spinal fluid tests on some participants also showed the drug group had less of another substance that is released when nerve cells are damaged.
"I found that very encouraging, that we were doing something to the biology of the disease. We're having an impact on nerve cell injury," Sperling said.
There were potential safety concerns. There were 15 deaths among the 673 in bapineuzumab group versus only five among the 448 in the placebo group. Six of the deaths in the drug group were from various forms of cancer. But a wider review of thousands of patients in multiple studies of bapineuzumab found that cancer was not more common among those on the drug.
The cancer deaths "were wide and varied, and they weren't a specific type of cancer, so that's not raising any red flags," said an independent expert, Dr. Maria Carrillo, a senior scientist at the Alzheimer's Association.
Salloway's study produced less evidence of benefit. Too few participants had brain imaging to make definitive conclusions about amyloid, and there was just a trend toward less of the nerve-damage substance in the group receiving the higher of two doses tested.
Bapineuzumab is given as periodic intravenous infusions, and the companies have said they are stopping development of that form but continuing to test a version that can be given as a shot.
More results on this drug and a similar one—Eli Lilly & Co.'s solanezumab—will be presented at a conference in Boston next month. Lilly recently announced that combined results of two large studies of solanezumab suggested some benefit on cognition.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- Pfizer and J&J end development of Alzheimer's drug Aug 06, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Alzheimer's drug fails in 1 study, 2nd continues (Update) Jul 23, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Anti-inflammatory drug blocks brain plaques Jun 24, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Small study: Drug may help stabilize Alzheimer's Jul 17, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Key results coming on 3 drugs against Alzheimer's Jul 11, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
The Durability of Bone: Long Falls
5 hours ago I am doing a paper on the physics in Valve's Portal and got interested in the "Long Fall Boots" that prevent any damage no matter how far you fall. I...
Is energy convertible to matter?
6 hours ago Can we convert energy to matter?
Rotating electron as a dipole is this right?
9 hours ago An electron as shown by the Stern Gerlach experiment behaves like a dipole (albeit only in one of two states). I have been trying to figure out how...
Dipole term in multipole expansion
13 hours ago Hi. I'm having some difficult in understanding something about the dipole term in a multipole expansion. Griffiths writes the expansion as a sum of...
Bubbles in a Pre-Boiling/Boiling pot of water
14 hours ago How is it that bubbles form on the bottom of a surface of a pot of boiling water? I think that there is probably an elementary answer to this...
Assumptions of Griffith's fracture theory
May 21, 2013 Any experts on Griffith's fracture theory? I am studying the subject and I am having hard time finding out if the theory is valid for all possible...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
Researchers at USC have found that a class of pharmaceuticals can both prevent and treat Alzheimer's Disease in mice.
Alzheimer's disease & dementia 12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (6) | 0 |
Researchers have pinpointed a catalytic trigger for the onset of Alzheimer's disease – when the fundamental structure of a protein molecule changes to cause a chain reaction that leads to the death of neurons ...
Alzheimer's disease & dementia May 20, 2013 | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
A new study looking at sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neuroimaging adds to the growing body of research linking the two.
Alzheimer's disease & dementia May 19, 2013 | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
The devastating effect of Alzheimer's disease on bilingual people has been thrown into focus in Canada, where the sudden loss of a second language can leave sufferers feeling like strangers in their own country.
Alzheimer's disease & dementia May 19, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Working with lab mice models of multiple sclerosis (MS), UC Davis scientists have detected a novel molecular target for the design of drugs that could be safer and more effective than current FDA-approved ...
Alzheimer's disease & dementia May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Native peoples in regions where cameras are uncommon sometimes react with caution when their picture is taken. The fear that something must have been stolen from them to create the photo ...
15 hours ago | 4.2 / 5 (5) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Despite spending billions of dollars on research and development, drug companies have been unable to come up with effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Now, A. ...
13 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (11) | 0 |
Australian scientists have charted the path of insulin action in cells in precise detail like never before. This provides a comprehensive blueprint for understanding what goes wrong in diabetes.
15 hours ago | 4.6 / 5 (7) | 0 |
An experimental sleeping pill from US drug company Merck is effective at helping people fall and stay asleep, according to reviewers at the US Food and Drug Administration, which could soon approve the new drug.
9 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0
Activating an enzyme known to play a role in the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction delays the loss of brain cells and preserves cognitive function in mice, according to a study published in the May ...
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
A drug commonly used to treat depression and anxiety may improve a stress-related heart condition in people with stable coronary heart disease, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.
10 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |