The University College London Hospitals NHS FT (UCLH) has developed a clinical trial for a new drug candidate for Alzheimer’s disease, with participants now being screened.
Those participating in the trial will already have the rare inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease. The aim of the drug – known as E2814 – is to target tau protein found in the brain, which is recognised as being responsible for the progression of the disease.
This is the first time a treatment targeting tau is being trialled in patients with the inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease. It is common for those inheriting the mutations that cause Alzheimer’s disease, to develop the cognitive impairments of the disease at an earlier and more predictable age. They often develop symptoms around the same age as their parents; in their 50s, 40s and even 30s.
The program will evaluate three anti-tau drugs in clinical studies, determining whether these drugs can slow or stop the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.
The trial is being carried out by the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Trials Unit (DIAN-TU), which is an international collaboration sponsored by the Washington University School of Medicine, to test new experimental therapies for Alzheimer’s.
DIAN-TU’S UK Chief Investigator Dr Cath Mummery; consultant neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery; and head of clinical trials at the Dementia Research Centre at UCL, said: “As we’ve learned more about Alzheimer’s, we understand that tau plays a critical role in disease progression alongside amyloid; this is the first anti-tau treatment we will study in these families with genetic forms of Alzheimer’s disease and this important work advances the field towards our goal of discovering an effective treatment for this devastating disease."
The E2814 drug was developed by Professor Rohan De Silva at the Reta Lila Weston Institute, and UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, as part of the Therapeutic Innovation Group.
If the treatment is shown to work, it will benefit patients with the more common, sporadic forms of Alzheimer’s disease in the older population by, at least, slowing further progression of the disease.