pcloudy.png
Sunday June 16th, 2019 1:05PM

Hopes rise again for a drug to slow Alzheimer's disease

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CHICAGO (AP) — Hopes are rising again for a drug to alter the course of Alzheimer's disease after decades of failures. An experimental therapy slowed mental decline by 30 percent in patients who got the highest dose in a mid-stage study, and it removed much of the sticky plaque gumming up their brains, the drug's makers said Wednesday.

The results have been highly anticipated and have sent the stock of the two companies involved soaring in recent weeks.

The drug from Eisai and Biogen did not meet its main goal in a study of 856 participants, so overall, it was considered a flop. But company officials said that 161 people who got the highest dose every two weeks for 18 months did significantly better than 245 people who were given a dummy treatment.

There are lots of caveats about the work, which was led by company scientists rather than academic researchers and not reviewed by outside experts. The study also was too small to be definitive and the results need to be confirmed with more work, dementia experts said. But they welcomed any glimmer of success after multiple failures.

"We're cautiously optimistic," said Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer's Association, whose international conference in Chicago featured the results.

"A 30 percent slowing of decline is something I would want my family member to have," and the drug's ability to clear the brain plaques "looks pretty amazing," she said.

About 50 million people worldwide have dementia, and Alzheimer's is the most common type. There is no cure— current medicines just ease symptoms. Some previous efforts to develop a drug to slow the disease may have been tried too late, after much damage had already occurred. The new drug aimed sooner, in people with early Alzheimer's, and the drug works at an earlier step in formation of the sticky brain plaques.

Study participants were given one of five doses of BAN2401 or a dummy treatment via IV. After one year, the companies said the drug didn't meet statistical goals. But after 18 months, they saw a benefit in the highest dose group.

What makes it tricky, though, is that they used a new way to measure mental decline, a scale that combines parts of three other widely used tests. This is the first study to use that measure, and it's unclear how much of a difference a 30 percent slowing of decline makes — whether it allows someone to continue to bathe or feed himself, for instance.

"It's intriguing, but these are designs we're not used to seeing," and it will require more study for doctors to feel comfortable with this as a measure of success, said one independent expert, Dr. Julie Schneider of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

On one traditional measure of thinking skills, those at the highest dose declined 47 percent less than people given a dummy treatment.

Brain scans added evidence that the drug might be effective. All participants had signs of the sticky plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer's at the start of the study, but 81 percent of people on the highest dose saw all signs of them disappear after 18 months, an Eisai official said.

Side effects leading to discontinuation of treatment occurred in 19 percent of those on the high dose and 6 percent of the dummy treatment group. Cases of brain swelling, which have been seen in other treatments targeting the plaques in the brain, occurred in two people in the placebo group and 16 of those in the high dose group.

Other dementia experts were encouraged.

"That's a very hopeful outcome. It means we may be on the right track," said another scientist with no role in the work, Dr. Stephen Salloway, neurology chief at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Dr. Reisa Sperling, a neurologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said it's important to realize that this is not a cure, just possibly a slowing of decline.

"We're not suddenly returning people back to their pre-Alzheimer's baseline," she said.

Dr. Lynn Kramer, chief medical officer of Eisai's neurology unit, said the companies would talk with regulators about further studies.

Shares of Biogen, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Eisai, based in Tokyo, soared after July 5 when they announced that the drug had slowed the progression of early Alzheimer's disease for certain patients. Biogen's stock jumped 19.6 percent in one day, its biggest move in 14 years, and has continued to rise. Eisai rocketed 40 percent in two days.

Biogen stock gyrated in aftermarket trading after the study results were released. After switching between gains and losses several times, it fell 6.5 percent.

___

AP Markets Writer Marley Jay contributed to this report from New York.

___

Marilynn Marchione can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP

___

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Business, AP Health - Senior Health
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Times Square crowd braves rain to bid wet goodbye to 2018
A drenching rain didn't stop revelers from packing Times Square for New York City's New Year's Eve celebration
10:10PM ( 3 months ago )
US stocks end dismal, volatile year on a bright note
Wall Street closed out a dismal, turbulent year for stocks on a bright note Monday, but still finished 2018 with the worst showing in a decade.
9:52PM ( 3 months ago )
Animal advocates: Fatal zoo mauling shows need for crackdown
Animal welfare advocates say fatal mauling of intern illustrates need to crack down on unaccredited exhibitors
9:36PM ( 3 months ago )
U.S. News
Williams runs wild, Texas A&M routs NC State 52-13 in Gator
Trayveon Williams ran for 236 yards and three touchdowns, smashing a 30-year-old school record and carrying No. 21 Texas A&M to a 52-13 victory against beat North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl
11:09PM ( 3 months ago )
Harden's 43 points, triple-double lead Rockets over Memphis
James Harden had a triple-double of 43 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to their fifth straight win, 113-101, over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night
10:53PM ( 3 months ago )
Deadline passes without Russian turnover of data to WADA
Deadline passes without Russian turnover of data, samples to WADA
10:43PM ( 3 months ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Broncos fire Vance Joseph after 11-21 mark over 2 years
Broncos fire coach Vance Joseph after back-to-back seasons of double-digit losses
9:50PM ( 3 months ago )
The Latest: House Dems unveil plan to re-open government
House Democrats have unveiled a package of bills that would re-open the federal government without approving funding for President Donald Trump's border wall with Mexico
9:31PM ( 3 months ago )
House Democrats unveil measure to re-open government
House Democrats have unveiled legislation to re-open government, but without extra money for President Donald Trump's border wall
8:15PM ( 3 months ago )
AP National News
Throngs packing into Times Square for rainy New Year's Eve
Sting, Christina Aguilera and revelers from around the world are set to welcome 2019 in New York City's Times Square
5:31PM ( 3 months ago )
The Latest: Trump says he's ready to negotiate with Dems
President Donald Trump says he's "ready, willing and able" to negotiate an end to the partial government shutdown that has now stretched into its 10th day
5:27PM ( 3 months ago )
Elizabeth Smart kidnapper now lives near elementary school
A woman who helped kidnap Utah's Elizabeth Smart is living several blocks away from a Salt Lake City elementary school following her release from prison in September
5:06PM ( 3 months ago )
AP Online National News
Immigration officials say they had no contact with suspect
U.S. immigration authorities say they had no contact with a Mexican national suspected of killing a California police officer until the man was arrested last week
4:06PM ( 3 months ago )
Grand Canyon celebrates 100 years as a national park in 2019
The Grand Canyon will be celebrating 100 years as a national park in 2019
3:20PM ( 3 months ago )
Throngs to pack Times Square for mild, rainy New Year's Eve
Sting, Christina Aguilera and revelers from around the world are set to welcome 2019 in New York City's Times Square
2:54PM ( 3 months ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Mattis' final words from Pentagon: 'Hold fast' with allies
Jim Mattis ended one of history's more turbulent tenures as defense secretary by re-emphasizing a key difference with President Donald Trump and encouraging Pentagon employees, civilian and military, to "hold fast" in defense of the nation
3:26PM ( 3 months ago )
Congo cuts internet after presidential poll beset by delays
As votes are counted Monday in Congo's long-delayed presidential election, the internet was cut across the vast Central African country, apparently to prevent social media speculation about the results
1:35PM ( 3 months ago )
Mattis farewell to Pentagon staff: 'Hold fast' to US defense
On his final day as secretary of defense, Jim Mattis is urging all Pentagon employees, military and civilian, to "hold fast" in defense of the country
1:15PM ( 3 months ago )
Top General short headlines
Trump blames Democrats for deaths of 2 children at border
Trump claims Democrats to blame for Guatemalan children who died in U.S. Border Patrol custody in his first comments on their deaths
3:06PM ( 3 months ago )
Trump puts blame for child deaths at border on Democrats
Trump claims Democrats to blame for Guatemalan children who died in U.S. Border Patrol custody in his 1st comments on their deaths
11:15AM ( 3 months ago )
Trump blames Democrats, not his team, for border deaths
Trump says Democrats, not his administration, to blame for Guatemalan children who died in U.S. custody
12:18AM ( 3 months ago )
AP Health
France: Festive celebration in Paris; Macron defends agenda
Hundreds of thousands of people have celebrated New Year's Eve on Paris' Champs-Elysees avenue in a festive and joyful atmosphere amid heavy security
6:49PM ( 3 months ago )
Ivanka Trump plans global women's economic development push
White House adviser Ivanka Trump is set to launch a wide-ranging effort aimed at women's global economic empowerment in early 2019
6:04PM ( 3 months ago )
France: Protest planned amid revelry; Macron defends agenda
Paris is holding its annual New Year's Eve celebration on the Champs-Elysees under heavy security as protesters planned to gather on the famed avenue where a peaceful march previously led to violent clashes with police
4:17PM ( 3 months ago )
AP Business
Group backing private Medicare is funded by insurance giants
A group seen as a champion for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries is funded by insurance giants that stand to benefit as that part of the federal health insurance program grows
4:15PM ( 3 months ago )
Elderly man evicted over medical marijuana hits another snag
A 78-year-old New York man who was evicted from federally subsidized housing because he uses medical marijuana says the conflicting state and federal marijuana rules that left him homeless are now threatening his medical care
7:24PM ( 3 months ago )
Medicare expands access to in-home support for seniors
Some Medicare Advantage insurance plans to offer broader array of in-home support services next year
12:01PM ( 4 months ago )
AP Health - Senior Health
Confidence gauge suggests US hiring could slow later in year
A gauge of consumer confidence gauge suggests US hiring could slow later in year
6:19AM ( 41 minutes ago )
Family of missing boy was elated, then devastated by hoax
The family of an Illinois boy missing for eight years was initially elated by a report that suggested he might have been found
5:01AM ( 1 hour ago )
El Salvador trip holds family connection for governor's aide
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is traveling to El Salvador to learn firsthand what is prompting thousands of people to leave and seek new lives in the United States
1:19AM ( 5 hours ago )
Mormon president makes big changes in busy first year
The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has generated buzz in his first year by becoming one of the most visible presidents in modern church history and implementing a number of changes
1:12AM ( 5 hours ago )
Suspect held in 4 slayings at North Dakota business
Police following evidence from surveillance video arrested a 44-year-old man in the slayings of four people at a property management business in North Dakota
12:03AM ( 6 hours ago )