NeuroEM Therapeutics, Inc., a Phoenix-based medical device R&D company, announced today that it has begun a study with a premiere research university to test its Transcranial Electromagnetic Treatment (TEMT) in aged primates. "All attempts to treat Alzheimer's through drugs have thus far been very disappointing, so our medical device represents a new therapeutic direction," said Dr. Gary Arendash, President and CEO of NeuroEM Therapeutics.
"Aged primates (Rhesus monkeys) develop the same abnormal amyloid deposits in their brains as Alzheimer's patients and they also become cognitively impaired during aging," Dr. Arendash indicated. He and his colleagues had previously found that their patent-pending TEMT technology reverses both Alzheimer's brain pathology and severe memory impairment in aged Alzheimer's mice. These mice had been genetically modified to produce human amyloid deposits, which are thought to cause Alzheimer's disease.
However, primates are much closer to humans in brain structure and function. Moreover, they spontaneously develop amyloid plaques in their brains during aging identical to those in human AD patients. A therapeutic that is found to be beneficial to these aged primates is likely to provide the same benefits in Alzheimer's patients.
For the study, researchers at NeuroEM's collaborating university are administering TEMT to aged primates over several months while monitoring cognitive performance and brain function. TEMT is completely non-invasive, so subjects will not even be aware of it.
"The primates being used in this study are all substantially aged, which affords us a unique opportunity to get important, Alzheimer's-related data during the treatment period," stated Dr. Arendash. Dr. Chuanhai Cao at the University of South Florida, who helped develop TEMT technology with Dr. Arendash, is performing the study's biochemical analyses.
TEMT has two ways that it directly attacks the Alzheimer's disease process. First, it disaggregates amyloid plaques both inside and outside of brain cells. Secondly, it increases brain metabolism by enhancing mitochondrial function. Both of these mechanisms are unique to TEMT in that no drug being clinical tested against Alzheimer's offers them.
"If our collaborative primate study is successful, clinical trials with TEMT administration to Alzheimer's patients could begin by next summer," indicated Dr. Arendash. "NeuroEM Therapeutics has a projected time line to commercialize its medical device of under 5 years, which is much faster than for an Alzheimer's drug," said Dr. Arendash.
NeuroEM's head device for Alzheimer's treatment is designed to be self-contained for comfortable in-home treatment, allowing complete mobility. The company has several pending patents for use of TEMT against neurodegenerative diseases. Numerous studies have shown the technology to be safe for humans. The head device would only be available through neurologists and other health professions qualified to diagnose Alzheimer's Disease.
Alzheimer's affects over 5 million Americans, with the U.S. market being $4-10 billion annually for an effective therapeutic.