Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis announced topline results today of a phase III clinical trial testing two drugs—solanezumab (Eli Lilly and Co.) and gantenerumab (Roche and Genentech)—in people with a rare inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease. Initial analysis of the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network-Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) result showed that neither drug met the primary study endpoint of slowing cognitive decline.
“While we are disappointed that patients in this study did not see a benefit, we need to keep in mind that Alzheimer’s is a complicated disease due to complex, multifactorial causes,” said Howard Fillit, MD, Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Office at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF). “Every well-designed trial, such as DIAN-TU, adds to our scientific knowledge and informs future research toward our ultimate goal of having effective treatments for people with Alzheimer’s.”
In addition to measuring the primary outcome, researchers in the trial also obtained and are currently analyzing blood and spinal fluid samples, as well as brain scans to monitor the biological signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Understanding these disease biomarkers is a primary goal of ADDF’s Diagnostics Accelerator and will help us to better understand how the disease develops and how it can be stopped.
“ADDF has long supported a broader approach that moves past targeting beta-amyloid and advances a diverse pipeline of drugs addressing multiple targets implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. We need ‘multiple shots on goal’ to discover effective drugs, and as in cancer, we will likely need a combination of drugs addressing multiple target pathways to effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Fillit.
ADDF looks forward to learning more when researchers present more detailed analysis of their findings at the Advances in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s annual meeting on April 2.