As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: May 15, 2012
by Kim Carollo for ABC News:
A team of researchers will soon try out an experimental drug that could prevent Alzheimer’s disease in a group of people with a genetic mutation that makes it likely they will develop the debilitating condition.
Scientists will begin a clinical trial of crenezumab in about 300 Colombians whose genes predispose them to a rare form of Alzheimer’s that hits very early — usually in the 40s or 50s — and can affect multiple members of the same family. Funding for the study is provided by the National Institutes of Health, Genentech and the Banner Alzheimer’s Initiative. Genentech is the developer of the experimental drug.
There will also be a subjects with the same mutation recruited in the U.S., but those people still need to be identified.
“Clinical trials will be done at a time when a patient has no symptoms. We’re trying to stop or slow the onset of the disease in this group of patients,” said Richard Scheller, executive vice president of research and development at Genentech. “We know when they will contract the disease because of the numerous studies that have been done on the mutation.
The drug acts on a substance known as ABeta. Scheller explained that ABeta is a major component of the brain plaque that is a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
“The mutation causes a more rapid accumulation of ABeta in the brains of people who have it. It activates the enzyme that produces the ABeta,” he said. The clinical trial, he added, will help answer the question of whether ABeta is definitely responsible for this rare form of the disease.
There are also separate clinical trials underway looking at the effects of crenezumab on mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
Experts not involved with the crenezumab research thus far say preventing Alzheimer’s from ever happening is more promising than treating it once symptoms start appearing. Drugs that are available now only target symptoms, not the mechanisms that cause the disease.
“In people who already have the disease, early data with this drug suggest the disease-modifying effect is not huge. It may already be too late,” said Dr. John Ringman, associate clinical professor of neurology at the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA. Ringman is involved in research that could help identify Alzheimer’s patients before their symptoms appear, which could help identify potential American subjects for the crenezumab research.
“Plaque has been accumulating and many neurons are already damaged. It may difficult to stop the course of the disease at that stage,” said Scheller.
Dr. Gary Small, also at UCLA, said the research may help answer other questions as well.
“The positive thing about it is that they’re going after the disease early and going after a reasonable target,” he said. “The risk is that it may not be enough to prevent the disease. ABeta may not be the only thing going on in the brain.” Small is director of the UCLA Longevity Center and author of “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program.”
If the results of the research do show promise in preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s, Ringman and Scheller said that could eventually lead to studies of other genetically determined forms of the disease.
The clinical trial is expected to begin in 2013 and continue until 2018.
Two powerful tools for early Alzheimer’s detection may fit in the palm of your hand. In fact, according to new research based on data from the Framingham Heart Study, one of those tools is your...
The physical benefits of swimming are obvious in athletes like 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Toned muscles, muscle strength, and a well-sculpted physique describe a “swimmer’s body.” However, there is one characteristic most swimmers possess that we can’t see...
“I just can’t imagine what you’re going through.” It’s not...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.