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ICAD: New Drugs May Benefit Alzheimer's Patients

Clinical trials of three investigational agents show disease stabilization, beta-amyloid removal

WEDNESDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- Three novel agents show promise in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, according to research presented this week at the Alzheimer's Association's International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Chicago.

In one study, Jeffrey L. Cummings, M.D., of the University of California at Los Angeles and colleagues conducted an open-label extension of a pivotal trial of Dimebon -- a drug that improves impaired mitochondrial function -- in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. After 18 months of treatment, patient function scores were close to their baselines on the key signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

In a second study, Diamanto Tsakanikas, Ph.D., of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and colleagues conducted a six-month phase 2 trial of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) followed by a 12-month, rater-blinded extension study. They found that IVIg treatment was associated with significantly higher clinical global impression of change (CGIC) and Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog) scores and improved ability to perform activities of daily living. A third study, led by Eric Siemers, M.D., of Eli Lilly and Co., showed that patients who received the monoclonal antibody LY2062430 had significantly higher serum and spinal fluid levels of beta-amyloid, thought to be bound to LY2062430.

"Therapies targeting amyloid in Alzheimer's disease must continue to be thoroughly tested," William Thies, Ph.D., Alzheimer's Association vice president for medical and scientific relations, said in a statement. "At the same time, we know that Alzheimer's is a complex disease and that better treatments and preventions will likely also be complex, so we must investigate every promising drug target looking eventually towards the possibility of a multi-strategy approach."

All three studies were funded by pharmaceutical companies, and several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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