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Tarenflurbil Shows Some Promise in Mild Alzheimer's

Drug slowed declines in some measurements of mild Alzheimer's in phase II trial

THURSDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with mild Alzheimer's disease, the selective Aβ42-lowering agent tarenflurbil may slow declines in activities of daily living and global function, according to the results of a phase II trial published online April 30 in The Lancet Neurology.

Gordon K. Wilcock, of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed data from 210 community-dwelling patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Patients received 400 or 800 milligrams of tarenflurbil twice daily or placebo for a year, and then some patients entered a 12-month extended phase.

Patients with mild Alzheimer's in the 800-mg group had less decline in activities of daily living and global function than those taking placebo, but no significant difference in slowing of cognitive decline, the investigators found. In patients with moderate disease, this dosage had no significant effect on measurements of activities of daily living or cognitive decline, and a negative effect on global function.

"Do these results prove the efficacy of tarenflurbil in slowing decline in mild Alzheimer's disease? No -- the data are consistent with a beneficial effect of tarenflurbil in mild Alzheimer's disease, but are hardly conclusive. Are these results sufficient to support continuation of a large phase III development program? Thankfully, the sponsor's view was affirmative. With the need so enormous, and the potential benefit suggested (although not proven) by these phase II results, the effort is indeed justified despite the substantial uncertainty," writes Paul S. Aisen, M.D., of the University of California San Diego, in an accompanying commentary.

The study was funded by Myriad Pharmaceuticals. Wilcock and co-authors disclosed financial relationships with Myriad. Aisen previously served as a site investigator for tarenflurbil.

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