Clinical trial of Alzheimer's disease drug shows clear reductions in AD development

A new clinical trial has shown that a treatment for Alzheimer's disease slowed the progression of cognitive decline in a group of patients with moderate to severe symptoms. The findings of the trials into the effectiveness of the drug Clioquinol on the treatment of AD, carried out by UCL's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences and Prana Biotechnology Limited, are set out in the new edition of the Archives of Neurology, published on Monday 15th December.

The study enrolled 36 patients who were assessed for indicators of cognitive performance such as memory, orientation, language, attention and reasoning. The results were assessed using a cognitive score on the Alzheimer's disease Assessment Scale, the so-called ADAS-cog score. The scores range from 0 to 70, with lower scores indicating a healthy adult. As dementia progresses, the score increases. Eighteen of the patients were assigned to placebo and 18 received Prana's Alzheimer's disease drug, PBT-1 (Clioquinol) (the first of Prana's metal protein attenuating compounds (MPACs) to be developed for Alzheimer's disease). PBT-1 is a chemical that binds zinc and copper, and has been shown to lower the levels of A and the associated toxicity in the brains of Transgenic mice used as a model of Alzheimer's Disease.

The more affected patients entering Prana's pilot clinical trial (i.e. those with higher ADAS-cog scores) showed an average change in score at 24 weeks of about 1.5 points on PBT-1 and about 8.9 on placebo, a difference of 7.4. Generally, untreated patients with mild to moderate disease could be expected to gain six to 12 points in their ADAS-cog score over 12 months. A panel convened by the Food and Drug Administration in the US deemed an improvement of four points would be clinically significant.

"The results of this trial have been very encouraging to a clinician," said Dr Ritchie of UCL who led the study, adding; "Our findings have led to the development by P

Contact: Heidi Foden
University College London

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