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 Deep stimulation improves cognitive control by augmenting brain rhythms
04.04.2019 | Picower Institute at MIT

nachricht Black nanoparticles slow the growth of tumors
04.04.2019 | Technische Universität München

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: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>