Was this year’s HAI conference a bit of a misnomer? You could say so, if only to tease. The ninth incarnation of this rapidly growing conference, held January 14 to 16 in Miami Beach, Florida, featured as much excitement about tau as about amyloid imaging, for which several PET tracers are FDA-approved. At HAI, a brand-new tau tracer called THK-5351 debuted and three tracers by Roche were poking out of the preclinical pipeline. The leader of the pack, the Phase 2 tracer T807/AV1451, dominated the agenda as data were pouring in on its performance in Alzheimer’s and non-AD tauopathies—most of it good, some still rough around the edges.
Held in a historic skyscraper built in 1932 for a Philadelphia bank, the seventh conference on Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease drew 715 scientists to this city between November 20 and 22. CTAD featured a sprinkling of new trial results and enthusiasm about treating agitation in AD, but most of the activity reflected a field trying to rebuild itself from the ground up. Trialists swapped notes on implementing new diagnostic criteria in therapy trials, enriching trial populations, and exploring home-based assessments and other tools to support prevention trials. Secondary prevention sounded positively mainstream and has become the stuff of large-scale collaborations. Rusty Katz, formerly of the FDA, implored trialists to stop obsessing over disease modification and to aggressively go after big therapeutic effects instead. Those, Katz said, may require a commitment to co-develop combinations of investigational drugs.
More than 31,000 people attended the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C., November 15 to 19. Twenty-five symposia, 26 minisymposia, 101 nanosymposia, 667 poster sessions, and numerous lectures, workshops, and satellite events attracted researchers engaged in all manners of neuroscience. If you failed to soak it all in, or if you opted for the relative calm of the lab this year, then check out Alzforum's conference series.
First results from the Genetic FTD Initiative, and the advance of an HDAC inhibitor drug into Phase 2, made big splashes at the ICFTD conference held last month in Vancouver. Five hundred and ninety scientists from 30 countries met to exchange the latest clinical and scientific news on the diseases that make up FTLD. Multi-center cohort studies in Europe and North America reinforced the sense that there is a community spirit that may allow a common approach to how to develop therapies. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration can start in myriad ways—with social disinhibition, overeating, halting speech, or even odd misperceptions of pain or cold—but it always ends in dementia. Attendees said that the FTD field is poised for rapid progress.
At the 139th meeting of the American Neurological Association, held October 12-14 in Baltimore, scientists explained some of the newest therapies, preventative techniques, and diagnostic tests that may help control Alzheimer’s disease. An in vitro fertilization procedure has helped one woman who has early-onset Alzheimer’s in her family conceive twins with normal copies of the presenilin 1 gene. On the therapeutics front, a drug that is FDA-approved to quell uncontrollable laughing and crying reduced emotional outbursts and calmed patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In addition, scientists reported that Raman spectroscopy of the blood might distinguish people with AD from healthy peers and people with other dementias.