CONFERENCE COVERAGE SERIES
Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease 2014
20 – 22 November 2014
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.
CTAD Shows Alzheimer’s Field Trying to Reinvent Itself
A sense of change on all fronts pervaded the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease conference. Scientists shared their early experiences of what works and what does not as they begin trials with newly defined cohorts, new diagnostic criteria, and new outcomes.
Rusty Unleashed: Forget Disease Modification, Go for Big Effect
At CTAD, former FDA neurology leader Rusty Katz urged Alzheimer’s trialists to stop fussing over disease progression. He recommended going after a large effect, regardless of whether it can garner a label of disease modification. That, he says, may mean combination trials.
From Shared CAP, Secondary Prevention Trials Are Off and Running
A CAP symposium opened the CTAD conference, indicating that presymptomatic treatment and “federated” research have become mainstream thinking in Alzheimer’s therapy development. EPAD is pulling together European sites.
Immunotherapy I: Baby Steps, but No Breakthroughs
Researchers at CTAD reported seeing biomarkers budge in active and passive immunotherapy trials, but measurement techniques and screening protocols still need improvement for early stage trials to succeed.
Immunotherapy II: Active Approaches Down, New Passive Crops Up
Researchers at CTAD announced the end for two active immunotherapies, along with the curious story of a placebo as a treatment and the start of a new antibody.
New Target Has Legs: Tau PET, Mice, and Antibodies
Researchers at CTAD advanced tau research on several fronts, correlating tau PET with Braak stage and memory loss, and introducing a new tau model and therapeutic antibody.
Try This at Home: Cognitive Testing in the Age of Prevention Trials?
Internet and tablet-based cognitive tests were trendy at CTAD. If they prove their worth, they may provide a quicker and cheaper way to screen large numbers of people for trials, and track cognitive decline more accurately.
Just for Her? Study of Women’s Biology Offers New Therapeutic Angle
New therapeutics such as plant-based estrogens and neurosteroids caught notice at CTAD as an approach to try to prevent cognitive decline in women who metabolic markers indicate may be at risk for Alzheimer's.
New Ideas for Alzheimer’s Treatment: What’s on Offer in 2015?
Speakers at CTAD presented new treatment approaches, including a combination of two repurposed drugs that have no activity by themselves.
New Treatments for Alzheimer’s Behavioral Symptoms on Horizon
At CTAD 2014, potential drugs for agitation, aggression, and other psychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease emerged as a prominent theme.
Large Studies Agree: Brain Amyloid Accelerates Cognitive Decline
Researchers at CTAD added to growing evidence that brain amyloid accumulation presages cognitive decline, although several different factors influence how fast that decline will happen in a given person.