September 2015


ACT-AD Eighth Annual Meeting a Great Success

On September 16 ACT-AD hosted its Eighth Annual FDA/Alzheimer’s Disease Allies Meeting in North Bethesda, Md. This year’s meeting, “Assessing the Scientific Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease Therapeutic Development,” focused on what is being done to improve understanding of Alzheimer’s disease pathology and prospects for Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials. The meeting brought together a distinguished group of presenters, including Rachelle Doody, M.D., Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine, George Perry, Ph.D., The University of Texas San Antonio, and Bryan Traynor, M.D., Ph.D., MMSc, MRCPI, National Institute on Aging. The meeting also included a panel of experts who participated in a vigorous discussion on scientific and regulatory considerations for advancing pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease therapeutic development. Perry, a member of ACT-AD’s Scientific Advisory Board, noted, “Today was remarkable. I came away encouraged from this meeting because of the honesty of the discussions regarding the status of clinical trials and their underlying biological and clinical endpoint assumptions. It is clear that we need to continue to make good progress to help families who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and to build on the success of current approved therapeutics.” More details are available here.

New Resource from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America 

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has created a new training program called “AFA Partners in Care: Supporting Individuals Living with Dementia.” It is a six-hour training DVD program “for paraprofessionals and professionals who work in dementia care to equip them with practical skills and knowledge for working effectively with individuals who have dementia.” For more information, please visit here.

FDA Holds PDUFA Stakeholder Meeting 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration held a stakeholder meeting on the sixth Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) Reauthorization on September 28 in Silver Spring, Md.  It served to initiate the Stakeholder Meeting process for PDUFA Reauthorization and to plan future meeting topics based on the priorities of the stakeholders. ACT-AD Executive Director Cynthia Bens participated in the meeting and offered feedback on enhancements to the user fee program that could improve drug development for older adults, including those with Alzheimer’s disease. For more info, go here. 

AD Clinical Trials Enroll First Patient

The ENGAGE and EMERGE Studies have enrolled their first patient. These two Phase 3 clinical studies are evaluating the safety and efficacy of the investigational compound Aducanumab in people with early Alzheimer’s disease. To learn more about the studies, read this Q & A.

Alzheimer’s Researcher Tanzi Honored by Alliance for Aging Research

The Alliance for Aging Research honors pioneering Harvard researcher Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D., with its 2015 Silver Innovator Award at its annual dinner on September 29. The award is given in recognition of his work in advancing treatments for the condition. Tanzi was recently featured as one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people. Learn more here.

New Study Finds Alzheimer’s Disease Composed of Three Distinct Subtypes

A study from UCLA has found that Alzheimer’s disease, which has long been considered as one disease, may actually consist of three distinct subtypes: inflammatory, non-inflammatory, and cortical. In fact, the cortical subtype may be a different condition than the other two. Find out more in the journal Aging.

Researchers Seek to Find Brain’s Progression to Dementia

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease examines how the brain progresses from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s-type dementia.  It reveals that the path to dementia is complex and may sometimes be characterized by periods of stability followed by accelerated decline one or two years before diagnosis. For more, go here.