Entirely new drug for Alzheimer’s now being tested on patients

September 24, 2010 By Anneli Waara

An entirely new type of pharmaceutical substance for Alzheimer’s disease developed by Uppsala scientists is now starting to be clinically tested in the US. It attacks the early stage of the protein filaments that cause the disorder, so-called protofibrills.

“It would be a giant step forward to have a drug that actually targets the fundamental cause, as opposed to merely alleviating the symptoms, as today’s medicines do,” says Lars Lannfelt, professor of geriatrics at Uppsala University.

Lars Lannfelt is very optimistic. This is the first time a substance that directly attacks protofibrills is being clinically tested. The drug was developed in collaboration with the small Swedish biotech company BioArctic Neuroscience AB and the Japanese drug company Eisai. Just over 80 Alzheimer’s patients are included in the clinical trial.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by abnormal protein build-up in the brain, so-called plaques. They consist of long strands of , fibrills. The Uppsala researchers have previously shown that the prime danger is the pre-stage of these filaments, and they have therefore focused their research on finding a drug candidate, a monoclonal antibody, that specifically targets the pre-stage, so-called protofibrills.

“One of these , mAb158, has proven to completely inhibit the disease in mice,” says Lars Lannfelt.

The antibody has since been further developed to reduce the risk of triggering a reaction from the human , and in a few years the scientists will find out whether it has the same positive impact on humans as on mice. If the results are positive, the next step will be to involve considerably more patients.

Explore further: Scientists Develop New Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease

Related Stories

An Alzheimer's vaccine?

November 12, 2007

Could a new vaccine be the key to stopping Alzheimer’s disease? A new research study from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) shows that immunization could offer a way to blunt or even prevent the deadly, memory-robbing ...

Major breakthrough may pave the way for therapeutic vaccines

December 17, 2009

It should be possible to use therapeutic vaccines to create both cheap and effective drugs for diseases like cancer and allergies. One problem in developing such vaccines has previously been the lack of adjuvants, substances ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.