Alzheimer’s disease presents researchers with a number of challenges, from the difficulties in early detection and treatment to the trouble in securing adequate funding for research. The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), whose “mission is to rapidly accelerate the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s,” provides seed funding for early-stage research at Alzheimer’s drug discovery programs around the world. We had the pleasure of speaking with Penny Dacks, Assistant Director of Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at the ADDF, about what the foundation does, the challenges they face and some of the exciting new drug research they’re helping make possible.
Fisetin, a flavonol found in strawberries, mangoes, cucumber, and other fruits and vegetables, may protect the brain against Alzheimer’s, dementia, and age-related memory loss, according to research just out from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
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.
Academia, Early-Stage Biotech Companies Increasingly Look to CROs to Fill Gaps
Academia and early-stage biotech companies are more frequently looking to fill holes in their expertise and preclinical capacities through the use of CROs, according to a commentary in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery.
Big pharma’s move to outsource much of its research and development needs to contract research organizations have helped create a thriving CRO industry. The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation wants to help academic institutions and small biotechnology companies connect with CROs to make drug development more efficient. It’s launched a social network it compares to Match.com so drug developers can more easily find people and companies that can support their preclinical development work.
With just five successes, all just slowing progression of symptoms for six to 12 months, the road to an Alzheimer’s drug has been paved with failure. And the setbacks keep coming, most recently in May, when Baxter International’s Gammagard failed in Phase III to reduce cognitive decline or preserve functional ability in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s patients.
Mary Rose Taylor knows first-hand the toll Alzheimer’s disease takes on people and their families.
The Buckhead resident’s husband, Mack, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, which causes dementia including memory loss and behavior problems, in 1996 at age 67. He died in 2008 and was a patient of Dr. Allen Levey, director of the Emory University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and chairman of the DeKalb County college’s neurology department.
The Alzheimer’s Society of Atlanta and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Program (ADDF) team up for “Hope on the Horizon” a luncheon, symposium and fundraiser. All of the money raised will go to drug research at Emory’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, led by Dr. Allan Levey. The event also will honor Dan Carithers, an internationally renowned Atlanta-based decorator who has Alzheimer’s.