Study Explores Drug Treatments for Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease

A recent clinical trial, funded in part by NIA, explored the impact of two drugs, gantenerumab or solanezumab, on symptoms and Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers among people with a rare type of early-onset dementia caused by genetic mutations.
 
Researchers conducting the study enrolled participants who had inherited these mutations. Some of the participants had mild symptoms of dementia, while others had no symptoms. Of the 144 participants enrolled, 52 received gantenerumab, 52 received solanezumab, and 40 received a placebo. The research team followed the participants for up to seven years and discovered that the drugs did not slow down or stop the worsening of symptoms in participants who had dementia symptoms at the beginning of the trial. Some participants taking solanezumab had a faster cognitive decline. Participants without symptoms at the start of the study did not develop any during the study.
 
The researchers also tested whether either of the two drugs had an effect on known biomarkers of Alzheimer’s. Gantenerumab showed reduced beta-amyloid plaques in the brain and lowered the levels of tau, a protein that forms tangles in the brain cells of people who have Alzheimer’s. Solanezumab showed effects on cerebral spinal fluid amyloid-beta but had no effect on beta-amyloid plaques. Although this study was limited by a small sample size and a short monitoring period, researchers note that it may be an effective model for studying potential treatments for dominantly inherited Alzheimer’s disease.
 
Read more about the featured research study on NIA’s website.

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