The 16th International AD/PD meeting was also the first hybrid version, drawing some 3,360 participants online, or in person in Barcelona, Spain. Scientists outlined Roche’s new Phase 3 secondary prevention trial of gantenerumab for the first time. Attendees also heard updates on Aduhelm, lecanemab, and α-synuclein immunotherapy. On the basic science front, tau emerged as an instigator of interferon responses, while presentations on postmortem single-nuclei data showed how collectives of cell subtypes, and their cross talk, wax and wane together with age and with AD pathology.
Since Tau2020 was their last in-person conference, many attendees were hoping Tau2022 would be their first one back in person. Alas, it was not to be. Even so, the small virtual meeting hit some high notes as scientists focused on five major themes over two days. They debuted a phospho-tau 217 “clock” that predicts AD progression, identified LRRK2 as essential for neurons to internalize tau monomers from extracellular fluid, fingered toxic tau species as triggers of damaging immune responses, and linked tau haplotypes to errant transcriptional regulation and oxidative stress.
The 14th CTAD conference returned to Boston as a hybrid meeting, reuniting colleagues long separated by COVID, while also streaming most of the scientific program to viewers around the world. The conference featured morsels of news in the effort to move anti-amyloid antibodies past imbursement barriers at the CMS, and through the approval process at the FDA, respectively. Tau antibodies mostly came up short again, and a platform trial is forming to take on this complex target more systematically. Plasma biomarkers continued their rapid advance. Digital versions of known and new cognitive tests drew note, as did AI-based projects to detect subtle changes in a person’s speech.
The FDA approval for aducanumab left clinicians with little guidance on how to select the right patients and ensure their safety. At this year’s Alzheimer's Association International Conference, leading clinicians presented appropriate-use recommendations that helped fill the void. These include not prescribing the drug to people with cerebral amyloid angiopathies or people on blood thinners, and monitoring vascular health with frequent MRIs. Clinicians welcomed the guidelines and were hungry for more.