Jan 19, 2017

Australian Trial for New Alzheimer’s Drug: What it Could Mean for the Aging Generation

In Australia, more than 350,000 people now have the disease, with a projected one million likely diagnosed within the next 40 years. This year, in particular, there has been a huge breakthrough thanks to a new discovery.

Australian trials for a new Alzheimer’s drug began this month in Melbourne, which shows incredible promise in halting the disease progression in mice. It’s showed so much success that people with low to moderate signs of Alzheimer’s will soon take an oral medication version of this drug to see what the effects are.

Called CT1812, it’s the most significant breakthrough in years, though we all need caution in thinking it’s a fast cure-all. For those with the diagnosis, these new development provides hope that potential progress is being made.

Background on CT1812

This drug had development in the United States first through a company called Cognition Therapeutics, or CogRx. After encouraging signs in pre-clinical trials, this U.S. company opened the doors to international testing, including at Melbourne’s Austin Health.

Led by associate professor, Michael Woodward, the early testing phase showed amazing promise when doing the memory tests on mice. While we’ve seen many past trials on mice that didn’t work on humans, this drug has clout based on some interesting discoveries about Alzheimer’s Disease.

It all hinges on amyloid clusters, which stick to brain cells and cause the disease at sometimes earlier ages. With so many people starting to get Alzheimer’s younger than once seen, the science behind why it happens is all the more important to know about.

Why Previous Therapies Failed

Based on previous drug trials, the primary focus on the disease before was on eliminating plaque due to amyloid beta in the brain. This new drug focuses more on how amyloid clumps together to form oligomers.

Scientists recently discovered that oligomers bind to receptors in synapses, which help communication between your brain cells. In turn, receptors die off and end up destroying the synapses helping to keep the brain functioning normally.

All the mice in early tests had genetic engineering so they’d produce excess amyloid beta. In the first phase, CT1812 managed to block oligomers by changing the shape of receptors.

As complex as it sounds, it was something unknown just a few years ago. Now we’re on a road to a new type of therapy that protects brain cells from bad effects rather than trying to remove what’s already there.

Safety of the Drug, and Volunteering

According to reports, CT1812 (in tablet form) has complete safety. What the side effects are will likely be determined with the human tests through this fall and into the coming year.

Volunteers aged 50 to 80 are needed for trials from now until January . Trials are to be conducted at the Austin Health in Heidelberg, Epworth Hospital in Richmond, Melbourne Health at Parkville, and with Dr Philip Morris in Southport, Queensland.

For those who are interested in participating in the trials, visit the CogRx website to learn more about CT1812 and what the studies entail. Based on the above reports, participants would take one tablet a day for a set number of weeks.

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