Alzheimer’s Disease Therapies

Current Therapies for Alzheimer’s Disease Because there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease (), the primary goal of treatment remains the relief of cognitive, functional, and behavioral symptoms associated with the disease. Hence, current therapies aim to improve the quality of life for both Alzheimer’s disease patients and the caregivers who often must cope… Read More »

Alzheimer’s Therapy: Gene Therapy

Overview. Gene therapy for Alzheimer’s disease is a long way from being practicable, but some prototypical approaches are being explored. In April 2001, Ceregene, a subsidiary of Cell Genesys, began a Phase I trial for its nerve growth factor (nerve growth factor) gene delivery involving eight patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. Another promising approach pioneered… Read More »

Alzheimer’s Therapy: Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Overview. Epidemiological studies have suggested that patients taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease (). However, clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease have not borne this out; in a recent study, naproxen and rofecoxib (Merck’s Vioxx) use in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease failed to slow cognitive decline (). Naproxen… Read More »

Alzheimer’s Therapy: Beta-Amyloid Immunization

Overview. One of the most exciting prospects in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is the development of a therapeutic immunization strategy that could prevent disease progression by clearing amyloid plaques from the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients. This excitement, however, has been tempered by the discontinuation of the Phase Ha trial of Elan’s vaccine AN-1792… Read More »

Alzheimer’s Therapy: Beta-Amyloid Generation Inhibitors

Overview. Another strategy under development involves preventing the initial formation of the Aβ peptide from the amyloid precursor protein, amyloid precursor protein. Several such therapies are under investigation, and most are in earlγ-stage development. Some of these agents inhibit the initial formation of Aβ peptide by targeting the proteases responsible for its formation — namely,… Read More »

Alzheimer’s Therapy: Beta-Amyloid Aggregation Inhibitors

Overview. Drugs in development to inhibit beta-amyloid aggregation include Praecis Pharmaceuticals’ Apan (PPI-1019), a compound developed by Senexis in preclinical testing, and Hoffmann-La Roche’s CPHPC. PPI-1019 is in Phase I development and has been shown in animal models to increase Aβ-40 levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), suggesting that the drug promotes the clearance of… Read More »

Alzheimer’s Therapy: Neurotransmitter Modulators

Overview. Drugs that modulate neurotransmitter (NT) activity are targeted toward symptomatic relief of Alzheimer’s disease and are not considered disease-modifying therapies. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the broad loss of neurons — in addition to the loss of cholinergic neurons, Alzheimer’s disease results in the loss of other neurons essential to normal brain function, including… Read More »

Alzheimer’s Therapy: GABA Receptor Inverse Agonists

Overview. Benzodiazepine (BZD) drugs increase the inhibitory effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) interneurons on cholinergic neurons. However, BZD drugs that function as antagonists, or inverse agonists, at receptor sites could have an excitatory effect on cholinergic neurons, thereby increasing levels of cholinergic activity and thus reducing the effects of neuronal loss in Alzheimer’s disease patients.… Read More »

Alzheimer’s Therapy: Antidepressants

Overview. Major depression affects approximately 15% of Alzheimer’s disease patients. By comparison, 5-12% of the general population aged 15 years or older in the major pharmaceutical markets experience at least one episode of major depression per year. Because depression itself may lead to declines in cognition and function, treatment of depression in Alzheimer’s disease patients… Read More »

Alzheimer’s Therapy: Antipsychotics

Overview. Behavioral problems are prevalent in later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, when 50-60% of patients develop severe psychotic symptoms (). Behavioral symptoms range from depression and apathy to delusions, hallucinations, and aggressiveness. They are extremely distressing and burdensome to caregivers and affect both the quality of patient care and the choice of treatment. Aggressive and… Read More »