Alzheimer's therapeutic trials have gotten bad press lately, but it is not all gloom and doom. As evident at the 5th Clinical Trials in Alzheimer's Disease (CTAD) conference, held 29-31 October in the Principality of Monaco, scientists keep extracting new data from recent drug trials to gear up for a round of new ones that aim to tackle Alzheimer's earlier than ever before. The Alzheimer Research Forum, an online resource specializing in Alzheimer's and related diseases, reported on event highlights.
At CTAD, the latest news on immunotherapies was most anticipated. Bapineuzumab and solanezumab are monoclonal antibodies that target Aβ, the principal component of the senile plaques found in brains of people with AD. Both fell short of their main goal in recent phase 3 trials. New data at CTAD confirms that solanezumab slowed mental decline up to 35 percent in the mildest group of patients. Bapineuzumab knocked down protein markers of brain cell death in the cerebrospinal fluid, but slightly hastened brain shrinkage. The hints of benefit for solanezumab offer hope for patients treated in early stages of the disease. Researchers continue to analyze both data sets to learn all they can about why these drugs failed in some aspects and succeeded in others. "These datasets are very large, and have more to tell us," said Paul Aisen of the University of California, San Diego.