Guest Column | September 7, 2012

Wanted: New Drugs To Rescue Cognition In Alzheimer's And Parkinson's Disease

By John Harrison, PhD, Scientific Consultant, CRF Health

July was a month of very mixed fortunes for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) compound development. On the positive side EnVivo Pharmaceuticals announced at the Vancouver AAIC event positive effects of their nicotinic alpha 7 compound EVP-6124 (see the slide deck presentation and Dr. Dana Hilt’s press presentation). Nutricia were also at AAIC to present the results of their investigation of Souvenaid, a medical food that has shown positive effects on memory in patients with early AD.

Much less encouraging was the news from Pfizer and Janssen AI that Bapineuzumab has not shown positive effects in treating AD. These disappointing results for Bapineuzumab have reignited discussions about the time course of the disease and raised the question of whether intervening in already diagnosed AD is just too late. Consequently the focus of many of the discussions I had in Vancouver were about intervening in at the prodromal stage (secondary prevention), i.e. before patients are diagnosed with AD. Dr. Reisa Sperling described the planned ‘A4’ study and made the point that increases in amyloid are often seen as early as 15 years before the onset of AD.

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