Pendlebury Leads UVM Study of New Alzheimer's Treatment
Release Date: 07-03-2008
In Alzheimer's disease (AD), a toxic protein called beta-amyloid is over-produced and accumulates into "plaques" that deposit on the brain. As the levels of beta-amyolid increase and more plaques accumulate over time, the normal nerve cells in the brain are destroyed and/or lose their ability to function normally. This leads to the impairment of cognitive function that is characteristic of AD.
Dr. William Pendlebury, professor of pathology and neurology and medical director of the Memory Center at UVM/Fletcher Allen, is the lead investigator at UVM on a Phase 3 clinical study examining a new approach to treating AD. This new treatment, a therapeutic antibody called bapineuzumab (AAB-001), binds to beta-amyloid and the plaques and helps the body's own immune system to clear them from the brain.
"The current treatments for Alzheimer's disease address some of the symptoms, but don't affect beta-amyloid," says Dr. Pendlebury. "This experimental treatment has the potential to reduce the total amount of beta-amyloid in the brain, which may either slow or arrest the progression of the disease."
Bapineuzumab is administered via intravenous infusion and has generally been found to be safe and well-tolerated. The Phase 3 study will involve around 200 sites in the United States, and Canada, including UVM, and is expected to enroll over 2000 people. The first patient enrolled in the study in December 2007, and enrollment is expected to be completed by December 2008. UVM began enrolling patients in June.
Study participants must be between the ages of 50 and 89 and have been diagnosed with probable AD. They can remain on current treatments for AD while participating in the trial. Once enrolled, study participants are expected to receive 6 infusions over approximately 18 months. The study is double-blinded, randomized and placebo-controlled; some participants will receive the active treatment and some will receive placebo, but none of the participants or the investigators will know who receives which treatment.
For additional information on the study and/or how to participate, call the Memory Center at Fletcher Allen at 802-847-1111 or visit Investigational Clinical Amyloid Research in Alzheimer's or Clinical Trials.