ARUK Roundtable: Where Now for Alzheimer's Disease Research?

London, England

At an expert meeting convened by Alzheimer’s Research UK, scientists from Eli Lilly shared Aβ biomarker data from the Expedition 3 trial with colleagues in academia and pharma. Reading the trial’s tea leaves together, the group felt that solanezumab entering the brain from the blood might have brought Aβ along for the ride, confounding CSF biomarker measurements. To boot, the trial appears to have enrolled participants with more brain amyloid than its predecessors. Given the weakness of the biomarker results, scientists, despite a day of deliberation, were left with merely a gut feeling that the hint of a cognitive benefit in the trial was probably real, if too small. A lively brainstorm session of where AD translational research should go next concluded the day. Read Gabrielle Strobel’s two-part story.

  1. Solanezumab: Did Aβ ‘Reflux’ From Blood Confound Target Engagement in CSF?
  2. After Solanezumab: Where Should Alzheimer’s Research Go?

Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease

San Diego, California

If the setback of the Expedition 3 study of solanezumab set their mood in the beginning, attendees at the 2016 Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease conference soon bucked up and voiced renewed determination to tackle this illness. Many took positive secondary outcomes and trends in this Phase 3 trial as a sign that this or more potent anti-amyloid drugs given earlier will make a bigger dent in the disease process. Short of major surprises, the meeting reaffirmed the sense that AD will only be slowed by deploying potent drugs at the right target (probably more than one), with the right dose, and certainly at the right time.      

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Society for Neuroscience

San Diego, California

When more than 30,000 registrants gathered at the San Diego Convention Center for the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting November 12-16, they exchanged their latest data on the basic science on Alzheimer’s disease. Topics ran the gamut from protein propagation and inflammation to the hunt for plasma biomarkers and potential therapeutics. Alzforum reporter Madolyn Rogers brings you highlights.

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Kloster Seeon meeting on BACE proteases in health and disease

Seeon-Seebruck, Bavaria, Germany

Since the first Kloster Seeon meeting on β-secretases in 2013, a handful of BACE inhibitors have entered clinical trials and researchers have learned more about what these proteases do in development and adulthood. What’s the status of the field in the fall of 2016? Check out our coverage of the 2nd Kloster Seeon meeting. Highlights include conditional BACE1 knockouts, updates on non-APP substrates cleaved by BACE, news about BACE’s role in dystrophic neurites, assays to measure off-target effects and—finally—the arrival of BACE1-selective inhibitors.

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International Conference on Frontotemporal Dementias 2016

Munich, Germany

As research on frontotemporal dementia gathers steam, the international conference hosted its largest gathering ever last month in Munich, Germany. More than 750 researchers shared their latest data on basic science, genetics, and clinical outcome measures. Biomarkers dominated the meeting, as the field prepares for therapy trials by seeking better ways to track pathology in living people. The few trials that have been done thus far, without specific biomarkers, have largely been a bust. 

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Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2016

Toronto, Canada

Held July 22 to 28 in Toronto, the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference showcased a field in transformation. At the clinical level, groups from Europe, North America, and Japan are attempting to coalesce around new ways to recruit preclinical populations for large observational and trial platforms for late-onset AD, while the smaller but more established DIAN initiative is growing into a worldwide movement. At the biological level, research is set to expand thanks to funding increasing in response to national plans. Health economics research is pressing in. Topically, tau ruled the roost, though genetics, vascular contributions to dementia, and efforts to define ever-earlier stages of the decades-long disease continuum advanced, as well. On the clinical trials front, the only Phase 3 study appears to have been largely a bust, while some Phase 1 presentations of new antibodies, BACE inhibitors, and a small-molecule tau modifier drew quiet praise. 

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Keystone Symposia: Common Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration/Microglia in the Brain

Keystone, Colorado

Researchers who packed the lecture halls for “Common Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration” and “Microglia in the Brain,” joint Keystone Symposia held June 12-16 in Keystone, Colorado, saw old dogmas fall and new ideas and methodologies emerge. Debates ran the gamut from the biophysical nature of toxic proteins to the characterization of microglia in health and disease. 


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