We’ve known for years that the number of deaths caused by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias have been underreported, but a recent study identified the disease as the potential third-leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer. The study, published last week in the journal Neurology, found that the number of people who die from Alzheimer’s may be five times higher than previously thought, partly because death certificates often fail to list Alzheimer’s as a contributing cause of death. But this is only part of the story. The problems begin many years before death, when the disease is in its earliest stages.
The best source for information about Alzheimer's, from cause to potential cures, is the NIH website, National Institute on Aging. As I am on the board of overseers of The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, (ADDF) I also follow closely its funding decisions. When I raise money for a charity I want to be able to tell those who give, how their money is being used, and how much of it actually gets to the cause. With ADDF, I can tell them that all of their money goes to research because all overhead is paid for by the Lauder family.
Treatment for Alzheimer's disease? None. That doesn't mean that we write the patients off. Yes, the patient can and should receive care: There are drugs that may help ease symptoms, for a limited time. And there are medications available that that will make the patient more comfortable, and make life a little easier for the caregiver -- again, for a limited time.
A transatlantic partnership is putting US$3 million into research projects aimed at repurposing existing drugs as potential therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The US-based Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), which describes itself as a “biomedical venture philanthropy”, is pooling resources with the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society in an effort to accelerate critical development programmes and bring new treatments to patients.
A trial led by Sunnybrook's Dr. Sandra Black investigating the potential for hypertension drugs to slow Alzheimer's disease progression is receiving support from a new funding collaboration between the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation of Canada and The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.
Drug repurposing takes drugs that were already approved for one disease and re-develops them to see if they can help with a different one. This is obviously a much faster process than developing a new drug from scratch. The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and the Alzheimer's Society (UK) announced a new partnership that will provide funding for drug-repurposing research in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Their stated goal is the acceleration of critical development programs and the bringing ofnew treatments to patients.
Alzheimer’s disease treatments have been shown to be safe and have some positive effect when tested in animal models. However, many of these potentially successful drugs have not been brought to human trials because of the increased cost and risk. The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation is responding to this problem through the Program to Accelerate Clinical Trials, an initiative to increase the number of innovative drugs tested in humans for Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias, and cognitive aging. The program will fund biomarker-based pilot clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease and in some cases will also support Phase I safety testing and IND-enabling studies to accelerate new drugs into trials. ADDF also is interested in supporting targeted pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to prevention and clinical biomarker development programs.
As research on Alzheimer's disease becomes a growing societal priority worldwide, the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association have launched the International Alzheimer's Disease Research Portfolio (IARDP). By organizing thousands of studies on AD into one central database, IADRP will help sponsors identify funded research to avoid duplication, coordinate funding efforts, and spot gaps in support. Researchers may find it useful for the same reasons. With the participation of nine funding agencies and four more that joined recently, the organizers aim to create a comprehensive overview of global efforts to fund Alzheimer's research.
Metabolic Solutions Development Company, LLC (MSDC) has announced that Jerry Colca, PhD, co-founder and chief scientific officer of MSDC, will present results of a Phase 2a study on September 9 at the 14th International Conference on Alzheimer's Drug Discovery. In people with dementia due to Alzheimer's disease (AD) who were not diabetic, the study found that the mTOT(TM)-modulating insulin sensitizer (MSDC-0160) maintained glucose metabolism in key regions of the brain associated with cognitive decline due to AD, as confirmed by FDG-PET imaging.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a draft Decision Memorandum to deny Medicare reimbursements to patients using an innovative FDA-approved Alzheimer's diagnostic technology designed to help physicians identify whether patients with signs of cognitive impairment may have Alzheimer's or are in fact suffering from another form of dementia. This information is vital to patients, their providers, choices regarding their treatment and their ultimate health outcomes.