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'De-Tangling' Alzheimer's Drug Shows Promise
Date:7/29/2008

ger, Phase III trial -- the last of the three routine phases of research into a drug -- is scheduled to begin next year.

Researchers gave either the drug, known as MTC, or a placebo to 321 Alzheimer's patients in the United Kingdom and in Singapore for 24 weeks.

Wischik's group found that the drug stabilized the progression of Alzheimer's over 50 weeks.

"The data show an 82 percent of reduction in the rate which the disease progresses," Wischik said.

Dr. Sam Gandy, chairman of the Alzheimer's Association's National Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, said the new study results are indeed promising, and he added that another anti-tau treatment is in the works.

"They could potentially be part of a cocktail of anti-amyloid and anti-tau drugs that might be the way we eventually come around to treating Alzheimer's, trying to hit multiple steps (in disease formation)," he said. "This is the sort of approach that's been successful in treating HIV and cancer."

The finding comes on the heels of results from another tau-targeted Alzheimer's drug trial, released at the ICAD meeting Monday. In that study, led by Dr. Donald Schmechel of Duke University Medical Center, older adults with what's known as mild cognitive impairment received an experiment nasal spray peptide called AL-108.

Mild cognitive impairment is typically thought of as a potential precursor to Alzheimer's disease. In the Phase II study, patients who received high doses of AL-108 over 12 weeks gained "statistically significant, dose-dependent and durable improvement" in a variety of memory abilities, Schmechel said in an Alzheimer's Association news release.

In other findings released at the meeting Tuesday:

Researchers released detailed results of a Phase III trial of the drug tarenflurbil (Flurizan), which was targeted at reducing the sticky amyloid plaques in the brain. In June, the drug's manufacturer, Myriad
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