Statement by George Vradenburg on the Latest Encouraging Alzheimer’s Developments

Ranit Schmelzer, 202.538.1065, rschmelzer@usagainstalzheimers.org

Two announcements made at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in Copenhagen show encouraging progress in the fight to find a cure for Alzheimer’s by 2020, according to George Vradenburg, who participated in the conference as Convener of the Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s and who also is Founder of USAgainstAlzheimer’s.

“We now have encouraging progress on two fronts for drug developments, for diagnosis and even for curing some forms of this terrible disease,” Vradenburg said.

Scientists at AAIC described a new type of brain imaging that can identify indicia of the disease, known as tau tangles, in people living with Alzheimer’s.  To date, the most reliable way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease is after death when brain can be examined for amyloid and tau.

 “We’ve been able to see amyloid plaques for a few years, but now we can see tau, meaning that we are close to seeing the whole cascade of pathology of Alzheimer’s.  This is extremely significant, as it permits us to look at the living brain, diagnose, and see the real signs of Alzheimer’s in the person affected by this dreadful disease,” Vradenburg said. 

Also at AAIC, AC Immune announced the results of data from phase II studies examining whether the drug crenezumab can delay functional and cognitive decline in people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. 

“Creneuzemab results show that this drug, like Lilly's solaneuzemab, will slow the rate of cognitive decline by up to one third when administered early in the disease course – and it is this drug that is now being further tested in the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative conducted in Colombia,” Vradenburg said.  “These statistically significant results are encouraging and an important step forward in the effort to find a treatment for this deadly disease.”

“Drug discovery is hard and has proven particularly elusive for Alzheimer’s.  The two new developments shared this week represent an important step forward to tackle the toughest research questions and the world’s biggest unmet medical need,” Vradenburg said.

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The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) is an organization of private-sector leaders who have joined together to provide business leadership in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The CEO Initiative seeks to partner with public leaders to transform the disease from a social, health, and economic crisis into an opportunity for healthy aging and innovation in research and care. The CEO Initiative believes that, during this era of aging populations, it will take visionary, coordinated, goal-oriented leadership of public and private leaders working together to solve our greatest challenges. Learn more at: www.ceoalzheimersinitiative.org

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