By Marcus Johnson
The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) has announced it has raised more than $1.1 million for a clinical trial that will test the ability of existing drug rasagiline to treat Alzheimer’s. The funds were raised by an auction at the Eighth Annual Connoisseur’s Dinner. In all, the dinner raised over $3.5 million for drug research related to Alzheimer’s disease.
Rasagiline, which is produced by Teva, is currently approved by the FDA to treat Parkinson’s disease. The clinical research will be led by Jeffrey Cummings, who is the director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada and Cleveland, Ohio.
Howard Fillit, executive director and CSO for ADDF, said that repurposing rasagiline could be beneficial for both doctors and Alzheimer’s patients alike. “Repurposing is an exciting approach because we can study drugs that are already approved by the FDA for use by physicians to treat other diseases. The results of this study may provide physicians on the frontlines of Alzheimer's treatment with new and critical evidence to inform the treatment and care of their patients,” said Dr. Fillit.
Alzheimer’s drugs currently target the protein beta-amyloid, which is found in the brain of Alzheimer’s disease patients. Fillit also said that rasagiline’s neuroprotective properties could offer a “novel approach” to Alzheimer’s drug therapy.
The Cleveland Clinic expects to have the results of Cummings’ study as soon as two years from now, although results could take longer to decipher. Rasagiline has already proven to be a safe and relatively effective drug for patients with Parkinson’s disease, and researchers believe that it could also be the first drug to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.