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Butler Hospital Neurologist Lead Author of Ground Breaking Bio-Engineered Treatment Study for Alzheimer's Disease
Date:12/9/2009

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The results of a new study on immune-based treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD), which was conducted at 30 sites around the country, will be published in the December 15 issue of Neurology®. Lead author, Stephen P. Salloway, MD, MS, director of the Butler Hospital Memory and Aging Program and a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, says that this 18-month phase two study on slowing the disease process in Alzheimer's patients offers promising results. The study tested the effectiveness of bapineuzumab, which acts like a vaccine to reduce the levels of toxic amyloid protein thought to play a key role in causing Alzheimer's.

"This study was built from the lab up," says Salloway. While many treatments for Alzheimer's disease have been discovered by observing the impact of treatments for other conditions, this treatment is among the first to use what scientists have developed in the lab to treat the underlying cause of the disease. "This study offers a real step forward in our development of effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease," says Salloway.

The results of the study offer an important piece of the Alzheimer's puzzle. What Dr. Salloway and his colleagues found was that the success of this treatment may be influenced by the patient's genetic makeup. Some people have a genetic marker, called the ApoE e4 gene, which makes them more likely to develop Alzheimer's. This gene increases risk and makes it more likely for people to develop the disease at an earlier age. In this study, people who didn't have the gene responded more positively to the treatment.

Sponsored by Elan Pharmaceuticals and Wyeth Research, the study helped to shape a phase three trial that is now in progress. Based on the results of Salloway's phase two trial, the new study will track patients with the ApoE e4 gene separately from those who do not
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