How do toxic proteins accumulate in Alzheimer’s and other diseases? (Links to an external site)

In search of ways to prevent these destructive tau tangles, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a key step in their development. Intervening at this step potentially could forestall the destructive cascade of events that results in brain damage, the researchers said. The findings are published Sept. 20 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Study defines disparities in memory care (Links to an external site)

Patients who live in less affluent neighborhoods and those from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups are less likely than others to receive specialized care for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates. Further, the research shows that Black people are more likely than white people to be diagnosed with dementia at a later, more advanced stage, which could contribute to inequities in access to new treatments.

Tau-based biomarker tracks Alzheimer’s progression (Links to an external site)

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Lund University in Lund, Sweden, have identified a form of tau that could serve as a marker to track Alzheimer’s progression. The marker also could be used by Alzheimer’s drug developers to assess whether investigational tau-based drugs – the next frontier in Alzheimer’s drug development – are effective against the disease. Such drugs theoretically would benefit people in later stages of the disease, when tau tangles play a crucial role.

Discovery of T cells’ role in Alzheimer’s, related diseases, suggests new treatment strategy (Links to an external site)

In Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative diseases, the brain protein tau is closely linked to brain damage and cognitive decline. A new study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that T cells play a key role in tau-related neurodegeneration, a finding that suggests new treatment strategies for Alzheimer’s and related diseases.

Roche Alzheimer’s antibody fails to slow cognitive decline in major test (Links to an external site)

Biogen Inc. and Eisai Co. caused a stir in September when they announced positive results in a late-stage trial for a closely watched Alzheimer’s drug, lecanemab. Doctors tempered their excitement, though, until they could scrutinize the full peer-reviewed data.

That data arrived Tuesday night. And while it is stoking enthusiasm that physicians might soon be able to offer patients a treatment that can slow the progression of the devastating disease, doctors need to carefully balance that optimism with safety concerns and the reality that the drug is far from a cure — and in fact, it’s hard to quantify how meaningful it might be for a given patient.

Roche Alzheimer’s antibody fails to slow cognitive decline in major test (Links to an external site)

The second (and third) time was not the charm for Roche’s experimental antibody drug for Alzheimer’s disease. The company last night announced gantenerumab had failed to show a statistically significant benefit in two large, late-stage clinical trials that tested its ability to slow patients’ cognitive decline—echoing a previous failure in another so-called phase 3 trial.

Rejuvenated immune cells can improve clearance of toxic waste from brain (Links to an external site)

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found an innovative way to improve waste clearance from the brain, and thereby possibly treat or even prevent neurodegenerative conditions. They showed that immune cells surrounding the brain influence how efficiently waste is swept out of the brain, and that such immune cells are impaired in old mice, and in people and mice with Alzheimer’s disease. Further, they found that treating old mice with an immune-stimulating compound rejuvenates immune cells and improves waste clearance from the brain.

ANA Investigates: A Podcast Series (Links to an external site)

On today’s show, we’ll focus on the future of biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease. We know that amyloid beta and tau protein deposit long before patients with Alzheimer’s develop symptoms. If we could use biomarkers to detect this pathology early, and treat patients early, could we prevent the progression to dementia?

We May Be Getting Closer to an Alzheimer’s Vaccine (Links to an external site)

A new study shows safety and potential benefit for patients with mild disease. Axon’s experimental vaccine AADVac1—currently the most clinically advanced tau therapy in development—aims to do exactly that. Its goal is to activate our bodies’ defense system to clear out free-floating tau proteins in our brains before they can form harmful tangles that accumulate inside nerve […]

Blood tests could help screen anticipated flood of patients seeking new Alzheimer’s drug (Links to an external site)

When the U.S. government approved the Alzheimer’s disease drug aducanumab last month despite shaky evidence of clinical benefits, Suzanne Schindler saw an immediate consequence: “We’re going to have to do a lot more biomarker testing.” Schindler, a neurologist at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, expects many patients with memory problems will […]

Investigational Alzheimer’s drug improves biomarkers of the disease (Links to an external site)

An investigational Alzheimer’s drug reduced molecular markers of disease and curbed neurodegeneration in the brain, without demonstrating evidence of cognitive benefit, in a phase 2/3 clinical trial led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis through its Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network-Trials Unit (DIAN-TU). These results led the trial leaders to offer the drug, […]