Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Alzheimer's disease patients show improvement in trial of new drug

30.07.2008
A new drug has been shown to improve the brain function of people with early stage Alzheimer's disease and reduce a key protein associated with the disease in the spinal fluid, in a small study published today in the journal Lancet Neurology and presented at the 2008 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease.

The drug, known as PBT2, counteracts the production and build-up of a protein called amyloid-beta that occurs in Alzheimer's disease. This protein, which can build up into a ‘plaque’, is believed to be toxic to brain cells and to prevent them from functioning properly.

Seventy-eight participants with early stage Alzheimer's disease took either 50mg or 250mg doses of the drug PBT2, or a placebo, over the course of 12 weeks in a randomised, double-blind clinical trial, led by a researcher from Imperial College London working with colleagues in Australia and Sweden. Both doses of PBT2 capsules were observed to be safe and well tolerated during the course of the study.

Participants undertook a number of tests to assess their cognitive function, prior to beginning treatment and at the end of the 12-week period. In two of these tests of executive function, which involves the ability to organise information, sequence events and plan, those on a 250mg dose of PBT2 showed a significant improvement over the placebo group.

The researchers also measured how the levels of amyloid-beta in spinal fluid changed during the course of the trial. They found that levels of amyloid-beta 42 in the cerebrospinal fluid of those on the 250mg dose of PBT2 were reduced by approximately 13 percent compared to placebo at the end of the 12-week period.

Amyloid-beta needs the metals zinc and copper in order to accumulate in the brain and these two metals become abnormally distributed in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. PBT2 works by interrupting the interaction between the metal ions and amyloid-beta, and returns levels of zinc and copper in the brain to normal levels.

In the cognitive tests, those on a 250mg dose of PBT2 were able to complete the task in a test known as Trail Making Part B an average of 42 seconds faster than they had at the beginning of the trial. The placebo group was an average of 6 seconds slower.

In the Category Fluency Test, which looks at a person's ability to come up with as many relevant words as possible in relation to a specified category, those in the 250mg group were able to produce an average of 2.4 more words than at the beginning of the trial. This compared with a decrease of 0.3 words in the placebo group.

Although memory loss is the problem most often associated with Alzheimer's disease, the executive cognitive functions assessed by these two tests typically begin to deteriorate in the early stages of the disease, though are sometimes less obvious than memory symptoms.

There were no significant differences in participants' scores on tests assessing their memory function in the new study, but the researchers believe this may be because the memory function deteriorates at a slower rate than the executive functions at this stage of illness, making changes harder to detect in a short study.

Dr Craig Ritchie, from the Division of Neurosciences and Mental Health at Imperial College London, who led the study, said: "Alzheimer's disease is a devastating condition and it affects hundreds of thousands of people in the UK. The results of our trial are very encouraging, although it was a relatively small study, which took place over a short period of time. Our findings certainly engender much optimism that this drug may have a significant effect on the underlying pathology of Alzheimer's, with a tangible clinical benefit for patients.

"We now need further research to see how PBT2 performs in larger, longer-term trials. Our hope is that we might be able to see treatments that can substantially improve the lives of people with early Alzheimer's disease within the next five or so years," added Dr Ritchie, who has been assisting the Australian company Prana Biotechnology with the clinical development of its new drugs for ten years.

The next step for the research is to move forward with PBT2 in further trials with a view to gaining a license for the drug.

These study results follow on from a recently published study of mice which showed that PBT2, in the space of a few days, cleared amyloid-beta, improved cognition and reduced the damage to brain cells. The parent compound to PBT2, clioquinol, was shown in a small study of 36 patients in 2003 to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. PBT2 was developed to be even more effective than clioquinol at attacking the core pathology of the disease.

Laura Gallagher | alfa
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance
25.09.2017 | Institut Pasteur

nachricht MRI contrast agent locates and distinguishes aggressive from slow-growing breast cancer
25.09.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>