- Crenezumab, an experimental Alzheimer’s drug manufactured by Genentech, will be the first drug to be tested for efficacy in Alzheimer’s prevention. The drug was chosen from a pool of 25 competitors, primarily because Crenezumab–unlike many similar drugs–does not cause vasogenic edema (brain swelling).
- The landmark trials are slated to begin in early 2013 and will be important in determining whether early intervention can prevent or slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The study will be carried out in Colombia and will involve testing about 300 people who have a rare genetic mutation that brings about symptoms of Alzheimer’s (including memory loss) around age 45.
- The Crenezumab trials are also significant because the study would help determine the validity of the beta amyloid theory, which suggests that Alzheimer’s is caused by a buildup of beta amyloid protein. While researchers have been working to remove deposits of beta amyloid in Alzheimer’s patients for many years, the anti-amyloid drugs have been thought to be ineffective in restoring mental and memory capacities because they were tested on people whose brains were already afflicted with Alzheimer’s. This new study will show if anti-amyloid treatment prior to the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms acts as a preventative measure.
- While Genentech will provide the lion’s share of funding for the study ($100 million), funds will also come from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services as part of its National Alzheimer’s Plan ($16 million grant) and from the non-profit organization Banner Health ($15 million).