Alzheimer's Medication Shows Promise

Alzheimers disease drug reduces amyloid levels in small study

(RxWiki News) In a small preliminary study the drug gantenerumab appears to reduce amyloid levels in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Additional clinical trials will be needed to verify that the medication successfully reduces amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

"Follow Alzheimer's treatments prescribed by your physician."

Dr. Susanne Ostrowitzki, a doctor from F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Neuroscience in Switzerland, and colleagues noted that several treatments were being examined to reduce amyloids in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. That includes gantenerumab, an experimental antibody that specifically binds to the amyloid plaques.

Researchers included two groups of participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease at three university medical centers. The 16 participants randomly received two to seven infusions of intravenous gantenerumab --either 60 or 200 mg -- or a placebo every four weeks during the seven-month study. In addition, brain tissue was taken from two of the patients during tumor surgery.

Those receiving the lower drug dosage saw a 16 percent reduction in amyloid, while patients who received the higher dose experienced a 36 percent amyloid reduction.

Additionally, investigators found that amyloid continues to increase in many patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's by studying findings in the placebo group.

It still is not clear whether the reduction will translate into a clinical benefit for Alzheimer's patients. A phase two clinical trial is under way to investigate there is a clinical benefit for patients treated with the drug who are in the early phases of the disease.

The study was funded by F. Hoffmann-LaRoche Ltd. The clinical trial was recently published Online First by Archives of Neurology, one of the Journal of the American Medical Association/Archives journals. 

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Review Date: 
October 10, 2011