New Treatments On The Horizon For Alzheimer’s Disease – Headlines From Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2015

New treatments on the horizon for Alzheimer’s disease – headlines from Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2015

•Gantanerumab reduces markers of Alzheimer’s disease in patients in phase III
•Aducanumab shows benefits and side-effects in early Alzheimer’s

Researchers from across the world are gathering in Washington DC for the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2015. Today saw announcements from clinical trials with potential new Alzheimer’s treatments.

Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“It’s encouraging to see more treatments making it through to clinical trials in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical trials represent the final, but biggest, hurdle for any new treatment to overcome and success at this stage could have huge implications for people living with Alzheimer’s and their families. We’re seeing global efforts to refine and improve clinical trial design in Alzheimer’s and the results announced today show that we should be more positive than ever about the direction in which we’re heading.”

Gantanerumab reduces markers of Alzheimer’s disease in patients in phase III

Researchers from the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam announced the results of a phase III clinical trial of another anti-amyloid treatment called gantenerumab in people with very early signs of Alzheimer’s. The study, called SCarlet RoAD, showed that the drug – given by monthly injection – was able to modestly reduce levels of amyloid in the brain on PET scans and reduce levels another hallmark Alzheimer’s protein tau in spinal fluid. These reductions were greatest for those patients on a higher dose of the drug.

Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“The initial results from the SCarlet RoAD study suggest that gantanerumab may be having its intended effect by reducing the number of amyloid plaques in the brain – a hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease. Proving that a drug is acting in the way it was designed to is very important, but the next test will be to see whether this has any effect on the development of symptoms for those in the trial. Studying the effect of the drug on long-term memory and thinking will be a test not only of whether it could be a useful treatment in the clinic, but also whether amyloid is a suitable target for treating Alzheimer’s.” Aducanumab shows benefits and side-effects in early Alzheimer’s

Aducanumab is an anti-amyloid drug, which was recently fast-tracked towards a phase III clinical trial due to promising early results. Drug-makers Biogen presented interim results from a Phase 1B study which tested the safety and effectiveness of the drug at different doses in people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The results showed that the drug was associated with adverse effects including the leakage of fluid from the blood in the brain, which was greater at higher doses. Despite this, early indications suggest aducanumab could reduce amyloid plaques in the brain in a dose-dependent manner and there were early indications that it could also slow decline in memory and thinking.

Dr Laura Phipps of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“When developing any new drug, there is always a careful balance to strike between how effective the drug is at treating a disease and whether any drug-related side effects are too severe to allow patients to continue on treatment. While aducanumab has shown promising early effects in people and seems to be able to clear amyloid from the brain, further trials with the drug will need to explore how manageable its side effects are for those being treated. This drug is now being taken into a phase III clinical trial – the final stage of testing in people.”

For further information, or to speak with a spokesperson, please contact the press office at Alzheimer’s Research UK on 0300 111 5 666, mobile 07500 803936 or email

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