Elan Corporation announced last Thursday that it would temporarily suspend further drug administration in the clinical phase 2A trial of its therapeutic vaccine AN-1792, made of synthetic Aβ1-42 peptide. Four patients have fallen ill with what appears to be central nervous system inflammation.
Yesterday the company offered no new information, citing their ongoing clinical investigation of whether the patients' inflammation is related to the study drug. To date, about 360 people have received multiple intramuscular injections of this drug. A previous safety trial in about 80 people, reported last July, found no serious side effects, however, other scientists in the field have on occasion questioned the safety of injecting elderly people with Aβ1-42.
The current trial is being conducted in the U.S., Switzerland, Spain, the UK, and France. All four patients who developed inflammation are in France, where a total of 97 patients are currently enrolled, a company spokesman said. The company emphasizes that the trial is still ongoing and that its dosing regimen is spaced far enough apart so that it could resume once the clinical investigation is complete. The Alzheimer Research Forum will monitor this important story.—Gabrielle Strobel