May 8, 2019

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


A May 7, 2019 Merck news release reported the presentation of Phase 3 trial results of BELSOMRA® (suvorexant) C-IV, to treat insomnia in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The trial met its primary and secondary efficacy endpoints. According to Associate VP of Global Clinical Research Dr. W. Joseph Herring, “Insomnia and other sleep disturbances are more common in people with Alzheimer’s disease dementia, but evidence for the efficacy and safety of sleep medications in this population remains limited. We are encouraged by the efficacy and safety results of BELSOMRA in those living with Alzheimer’s disease dementia.”


A May 7, 2019 Medical News Today article spotlighted the continued work of MIT researchers on the effects of light therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The therapy boosts gamma oscillation brain waves, which are believed important for memory and attention. According to the article, “In their earlier work, the researchers had shown that exposure to light flickering at a rate of 40 cycles per second, or hertz, stimulated gamma oscillations in the visual cortex of the brain in mice. Adding sound tones beating at the same frequency enhanced the plaque-reducing effect of the light therapy and extended it beyond the visual cortex into the hippocampus and some of the prefrontal cortex. Gamma oscillations from both treatments also led to improvements in memory function in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.” Also covered by Popular Science, and others.


A May 6, 2019 Yahoo!Finance article revealed that the first participant was dosed in the Phase 1b portion of the INVOKE clinical study of AL002 monoclonal antibody, for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. This portion of the study will assess the safety of multiple doses, and measure target-specific biomarker changes in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid in people with AD. “Based on strong genetic links between TREM2 and Alzheimer’s disease, we designed and developed AL002 to enhance TREM2 signaling and harness the immune system in the brain which we believe will address the multiple pathologies in Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a significant unmet medical need with no approved disease modifying drugs,” said Alector lead Arnon Rosenthal, PhD.


A May 3, 2019 Los Angeles Times article focused on the story of former Hollywood heavyweight producer Terry Semel, who has Alzheimer’s disease. His family has been fighting in court over his care for the last year. AD is very personal to Semel. According to the article, “Seven years earlier, Semel and his wife had donated $25 million to endow UCLA’s neuropsychiatric institute, which now bears their name. “We want to help lift the stigma that weighs heavily on millions of Americans suffering from diseases of the brain by inspiring greater public understanding of the impact of biology, genetics and culture on behavior and personal health,” Semel said at the time… Semel’s mother, Mildred, had suffered from Alzheimer’s… “He probably knew this was coming to some extent,” said one associate.”


A May 2, 2019 Yahoo! Finance article announced that Eisai hired two new key executives to round out its Alzheimer’s team. Dr. Harald Hampel is the new VP of Global Medical Affairs, and Dr. Michael Irizarry, VP of Clinical Research. “The additions of Dr. Hampel and Dr. Irizarry are a very important step as Eisai continues to break through in its quest to develop the first disease-modifying therapy for patients with Alzheimer's disease. Every day, the number of patients diagnosed with AD and dementia continues to grow with little hope for them, their caregivers and families. Through the efforts of our talented employees and our commitment to our human health care mission, we are confident that we can someday offer a complete treatment regimen that is preventative, pre-emptive, restorative and regenerative,” said Lynn Kramer of Eisai.