Recent Alzheimer’s drug failure: Biogen’s Aducanumab

Aducanumab is an intervenous infusion derived from a human antibody to clear amyloid plaques in the brain. Biogen’s Phase 3 studies were terminated this March due to advice from an independent data monitoring committed that the studies would not hit their primary endpoints.  While the use of Aducanumab maybe futile against symptomatic AD, there is hope it can be effective at prevention, and the initiation of a prevention trial will be assessed after the data from the terminated trials are further evaluated.

Trial participants react to the termination of treatment

Hear from several participants in “When the ‘real thing’ becomes a mirage: How patients in Alzheimer’s trials are coping with the treatment’s failure”, a touching article and video on the effects on patients and families when a trial is terminated.

Video: Interview with Dr. Sharon Cohen, Medical Director for the Toronto Memory Program, on what the trial termination means and a look ahead at the landscape of up and coming AD drug treatments Video Link

What’s Happening in the Alzheimer’s Research Field?

Bill Gates contributes to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Fund

The new Diagnostics Accelerator brings together philanthropic capital with a venture capital mindset to develop cutting-edge biomarkers and explore novel diagnostic technologies that are reliable, affordable, and easy-to-use.  Ultimately, the outcomes will allow for a better understanding of Alzheimer’s progression, easier identification of people for clinical trials, and more accurate monitoring treatment response. Read Bill Gate’s personal message in his blog.

Recruitment Partners Survey of Adult Day Services & Research Engagement

There is a lack of literature available on adult day services (ADS) in general and in relation to research engagement. Last month, RP conducted a brief survey among state association presidents and multi-state ADS chain executives to understand the perceived shared value between ADS and the AD/ADRD research enterprise. Overwhelmingly, respondents did not currently experience participant or families seeking research information from their ADS center. However, 55% of respondents report that participants and families in their network would be likely/very likely to engage in programming about AD research at the ADS. Importantly, 90% of respondents somewhat agreed/strongly agreed that providing information and facilitating access to research are valuable services for an ADS center to offer.

Can a dietary supplement really help with symptoms of dementia?

The supplement industry has seen incredible growth to become a $40 billion industry, with more than 50,000 different products available to consumers – many of which makes claims to benefit persons with Alzheimer’s disease. However, the FDA has begun a crack down on these claims as they have not been tested in clinical trials. Because of the absence of rigorous research and FDA approval, there is potential for problems ranging from side effects to interactions with prescription medications to variability in manufacturing. This strong response by the FDA, along with active education by neurologists and other providers, helps get the message out to patients to be critical of products they may see being sold in supermarkets, health food stores, and on the internet. 

Imaging tool found to improve diagnosis and care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease

Amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) allows clinicians to see Alzheimer’s-related “plaques” in the brain. A national study of over 11,000 Medicare beneficiaries has found that providing clinicians amyloid PET imaging results has improved medical management – including the use of medications and counseling — for people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. Read more about this research published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).


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