July 30, 2008

Drug May Halt Alzheimer’s Disease Progress

Researchers at Scotland's University of Aberdeen say a new drug they've developed holds great promise in slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

The test patients who took the medication had an 81 percent reduction in cognitive decline in one year, the researchers' Phase 2 clinical trial found.

The university's Claude Wischik, working with TauRx Therapeutics of Singapore, developed the novel treatment based on a new approach that targets the tangles -- aggregates of abnormal fibers of tau protein forming inside nerve cells in the brain.

They also found the drug had its biggest effect in the memory-critical parts of the brain where the tangle density is highest.

This is an unprecedented result in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Wischik said in a statement. We have demonstrated for the first time that it may possible to arrest the progression of this disease by targeting the tangles which are highly correlated with the disease. This is the most significant development in the treatment of the tangles since Alois Alzheimer discovered them in 1907.

Having completed the Phase 2 clinical trial, TauRx plans to begin a Phase 3 trial next year. If that trial confirms the Phase 2 findings, the drug could be available by 2012, the researchers told the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Chicago.