CONFERENCE COVERAGE SERIES
International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases 2021 (Virtual Meeting)
09 – 14 March 2021
Scientists discussed anti-Aβ therapeutic antibodies, confirming their ability to remove brain amyloid and working to boost their brain exposure. They continued their postmortem of BACE inhibitors in hopes of reviving these drugs at lower doses. Efforts at targeting tau are shifting toward tau’s microtubule-binding section, and α-synuclein trials are grappling with rates of disease progression. Emerging neurophysiology-based treatment approached presented promising early stage data, and clinicians shared experiences dealing with a year of COVID disrupting their trials and worsening their patients across neurologic care. Plus: cool news on astrocytes, tau blood tests, better mouse models and more. Check it all out here.
Donanemab Confirms: Clearing Plaques Slows Decline—By a Bit
The Phase 2 trial provides the strongest evidence yet that removing most amyloid from the brain bolsters cognition, although the benefit is small.
Astroglial Markers Poised for Stardom?
A new PET tracer. Plasma glial fibrillary acidic protein. Two new, promising surrogates for astrogliosis are filling in the Alzheimer’s biomarker toolbox. Both reflect Aβ amyloid better than they do tau tangles.
Shuttle Unloads More Gantenerumab Into the Brain
New data presented at the AD/PD conference offer the first evidence that a brain-shuttle strategy can work in people; the lecanemab and aducanumab antibody programs offer small updates.
N-Terminal Tau Antibodies Fade, Mid-Domain Ones Push to the Fore
The field is shifting from targeting tau’s tips to its mid-region, especially where tau binds microtubules. Several new candidates are in the clinic; whether the strategy will work remains to be seen.
Where to Now, Phospho-Tau?
Researchers envision p-tau-based blood tests for Alzheimer’s disease within a few years, but maybe not a stand-alone test.
Clinicians from Developing Nations Discuss Dementia in Their Populations
As life expectancy increases in countries such as Nigeria, Brazil, China, and others, so does the number of people with dementia. How to provide modern care for them?
New Mouse Models Better Mimic Tauopathy, Alzheimer's
Two mouse models presented at AD/PD may hand scientists more translationally relevant tools to explore LOAD pathophysiology and treatment. The tricks: targeted replacement and knocking in multiple GWAS variants.
For α-Synuclein Immunotherapy, Is Going Later the Key?
In the negative Phase 2 trial of prasinezumab, populations with more rapid decline benefited; this informed the design of a new Phase 2b study.
COVID-19 Worsens Neurological Problems, Delirium
At AD/PD 2021, clinicians discussed neurological symptoms and brain tissue damage in older people who died from COVID-19.
Clinical Trials in COVID Era: How To Keep Moving Forward
By shifting to home nursing and telemedicine, clinical researchers kept inching ahead during lockdowns.
Drop of Hope? No Cognitive Worsening on BACE Inhibitor
Data from Phase 3 trials of elenbecestat show no harm to cognition, leaving open a chance that the drugs could be used safely in the future.
What BACE Hits: New Substrates Create New Headaches
New research implicates IL-6 signaling and even Aβ42 itself as BACE targets, complicating efforts to resurrect BACE inhibitors at a low dose.
Does Synchronizing Brain Waves Bring Harmony?
In early stage trials, light and sound promoted neuronal communication, calmed immune cells, and slowed brain atrophy, but cognitive benefit remains unclear.
More Data on Herpes and Alzheimer’s Disease
Herpes infection upped risk in ApoE4 carriers, damaged brain tissue, and correlated with neurodegeneration markers in the CSF.
In Pilot Study, Electric Therapy Improves Memory
Sending low-intensity, gamma frequency electric current through the brain boosted short-term memory, perhaps by increasing cholinergic transmission.