January 13, 2020

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A January 13, 2020 Endpoints News article announced that Biogen acquired Pfizer’s casein kinase 1 inhibitor, PF-05251749, which could be used to treat sundowning, a behavioral and neurological symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Biogen will begin Phase Ib studies of the compound. “This asset is highly complementary to our existing pipeline of potential disease-modifying therapies in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases,” said Biogen’s head of R&D Al Sandrock. Also covered by Market Watch


A January 11, 2020 The New York Times opinion piece featured different ways of coping with an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. Neurologist Dr. Daniel Gibbs felt empowered because he could start to make positive lifestyle changes. “Early testing for Alzheimer’s disease will not be for everyone, but I don’t think that it should be rejected out of hand,” wrote Gibbs. According to Alzheimer’s Foundation of America lead Charles J. Fuschillo Jr, “Diagnosing a problem is critical. Addressing it once it’s identified is equally important. The development of new diagnostic tools makes it essential that we prioritize care and support until a cure is found.”  


A January 2020 Asia-Pacific Biotech News article spotlighted single-cell sequencing technology, DroNCSeq, which is being used by Duke-NUS Medical School and Monash University researchers to study Alzheimer’s disease-associated gene expression changes in specific human brain cell types, to identify potential druggable gene targets for drug development. The single-nucleus RNA sequencing technology was applied to the entorchinal cortex, the brain’s main interface between the hippocampus and neocortex. According to co-senior study author Associate Professor Enrico Petrettom, “Using DroNCSeq, we were able to study differences in gene expressions at single-cell resolution, which is key to understanding how genes identified by genome-wide association studies in specific cell subpopulations are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

A January 13, 2020 News Medical Life Sciences article focused on a new study from Houston Methodist scientists who identified a protein found in ovarian cancer, OCIAD1, that may contribute to Alzheimer's disease. In human brain cells, OCIAD1 impairs neurons and damages synapses, impairing mitochondria function and contributing to neurodegeneration. “We applied a system biology strategy to see if we could find a different mechanism of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease. We identified OCIAD1 as a new neurodegeneration-relevant factor, predicted its function, and demonstrated it mediates the long-term impact of amyloid beta on cells and synaptic damages by impairing mitochondria function,” said co-corresponding study author Xuping Li, Ph.D.