Study investigates two anti-amyloid compounds for treating Alzheimer's

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | September 02, 2016
Alzheimers/Neurology Population Health
First study to include
genetic testing into disease's
screening process
Two anti-amyloid compounds that may have the potential to prevent or delay symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in people at high risk for developing it are under investigation by the Banner Alzheimer's Institute (BAI). One is an active immunotherapy and the other is an oral medication.

"By studying this high-risk population, we hope to assess each treatment's potential to preserve memory and thinking as well as their effects on biological measures of the disease," Dr. Pierre N. Tariot, one of the API leaders and director of BAI, said in a statement.

The researchers have only just enrolled the first participants, but the Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative (API) Generation Study will span five years. It will involve over 1,300 cognitively healthy adults between ages 60 and 75 with genetic markers that signified that they are at high risk of developing Alzheimer's symptoms.

The genetic markers are referred to as the e4 type of apolopoprotein (APOE) gene, and people are considered high risk if they inherited two copies from each parent. About one in four people carry a single copy of the gene and about two percent of the global population carries two copies.

The API Generation Study is the first to incorporate genetic testing and counseling into the Alzheimer's screening process. Genetic counseling will be provided in person, by phone or through video-conferencing.

The researchers will enroll at about 90 sites across North America, Europe and Australia, including BAI's headquarters in Phoenix. Every patient will be informed if they carry none, one or two copies of the gene, but only those with two copies will be asked to participate in the study.

The study is sponsored by the Swiss pharmaceutical company, Novartis, and the biotechnology company, Amgen. Funding is provided by the National Institute on Aging, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer's Association, FBRI, GHR Foundation and Banner Alzheimer's Foundation.

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