On July 22-26, Chicago was the unmissable gathering for scientists dedicated to research on Alzheimer’s and neurodegenerative diseases. More than 5,600 researchers gathered at the AAIC2018 conference to discuss the different themes surrounding cognitive diseases and as always, it was an opportunity to make several major announcements that allow us to better understand and manage these diseases. Among them, several studies focused on the treatment of behavioral symptoms associated with a cognitive decline.
One study in particular, conducted by a team of Canadian researchers and funded by the Alzheimer Society Research Program, has shown the efficacy of a cannabinoid derivative called nabilone, for the treatment of agitation in people with Alzheimer’s disease at a moderate or advanced stage. Nabilone is already approved by Health Canada to treat nausea symptoms caused by chemotherapy, but unlike other medications, nabilone has no side effects. Further studies, however, with a larger number of patients are needed to evaluate the effect on cognition, diet and eliminate the sedation effect observed in some patients.
Clinical trial results
Another big announcement was the unveiling of the preliminary and encouraging results of Phase II of the clinical trial conducted by Biogen and Eisai on their test molecule, BAN2401. BAN2401 resulted in a reduction of amyloid plaques, while the highest dose (10mg / kg) also showed a significant decrease in Tau protein compared to placebo. It is important to remember that phase II clinical trials are intended to evaluate the therapeutic activity of a test molecule and to determine the optimal dose that will give the best effects, with the least possible risk for the patient. The results of phase III will be decisive before any commercialization of the therapeutic molecule.
AAIC2018 was also the opportunity to announce the results of the SPRINT MIND (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial Memory and Cognition In Decreased Hypertension) clinical trial, which proves that intensive treatment of hypertension, known as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, reduces the rate of new cases of mild cognitive impairment by 19%.
The results of other studies were revealed, from the reproductive and pregnancy history in women and their impact on the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease to the effect of light therapy to improve sleep, mood and behavior in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, or the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in the LGB seniors community.
The next AAIC will be in July 12-18, 2019 in Los-Angeles, California.
From left to rig: Dr Christa Lanctot from Sunnybrock Heath Sciences Centre, Nalini Sen director of research and Pauline Tardif, CEO both at Alzheimer Society of Canada.