‘The academic field still needs to identify the right form of Aβ to target’

Anti-amyloid drug pipeline shows no sign of drying up

Academic and industry researchers at the 13th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases, held March 29 to April 2 in Vienna, appeared confident that they are moving in the right direction. Asked why the field continues to go after the amyloid hypothesis even after billion-dollar losses, Samantha Budd Haeberlein of Biogen in Cambridge, Massachusetts, expressed the consensus view when she said, “The science for Aβ is very compelling.” Researchers believe the new trials stand a greater chance of success than previous ones, in part thanks to the recent emphasis on biomarkers.

 

Beyond amyloid
At the same time, scientists conceded that therapeutic strategies must broaden beyond just targeting amyloid itself. “Instead of a linear amyloid cascade, it’s more of a swirling eddy,” according to Brad Hyman of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. His point was that many other processes, such as inflammation and tau pathology, interact with amyloid to influence neurodegeneration. For an update on non-amyloid treatments, see May 2017 conference news.

Roche’s Paulo Fontoura said the previous view – that amyloid is necessary and sufficient for the disease – has evolved into an acknowledgement that curbing amyloid may offer but a partial solution, and that combination therapy may be necessary for a truly effective treatment. In addition, the field still needs to identify the right form of Aβ to target. That goal is close, he believes. “We are on the verge of developing the first successful treatments,” Fontoura predicted.

 

No breakthroughs
So what, in this big scheme of things, was the amyloid-related news at AD/PD? Researchers in Vienna presented no breakthroughs. Instead, they offered updates on three drugs since Alzforum’s last coverage from the CTAD conference.

 

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Source: Alzforum | May 12, 2017

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