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  • Writer's pictureDr. Domenico Pratico

Alzheimer’s disease drug development : an update~ Domenico Pratico, MD, FCPP

Alzheimer’s disease drug development: an update

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects a significant portion of older individuals, with its prevalence expected to rise in the coming years. Therefore, urgent strategies for prevention and pharmacologic treatments are crucial. The state-of-the-art of drug development for AD plays a pivotal role in combating this disease, providing critical insights annually.

The 2024 Alzheimer’s disease drug development report, recently published, offers a comprehensive overview of ongoing clinical trials and new drug developments targeting various pathways.

Excitingly, over 70% of drugs in the pipeline now focus on novel pathways such as neurotransmitters and neuroinflammation. This marks a significant shift from a decade ago, when amyloid beta and tau dominated the landscape, now comprising only about a quarter of current drug development efforts.

The report paints a new and promising picture summarized below. Following nearly two decades of intensive research without new therapies, recent progress includes the approval of disease-modifying therapies and symptomatic treatments for neuropsychiatric symptoms of AD:

  • Two anti-amyloid monoclonal antibodies—aducanumab and lecanemab—approved last year, along with donanemab recently reviewed and approved by the FDA.

  • Brexpiprazole, approved for treating agitation in AD-associated dementia.

These successes are pivotal in AD therapy, showing that we can now slow disease progression and manage some clinical symptoms effectively.

While a cure for AD remains elusive, optimism is warranted for several reasons:

  1. Advances in understanding the disease over the past five years have significantly enhanced our ability to target specific and novel therapeutic avenues.

  2. The current drug pipeline is robust, focusing on previously unexplored pathways with potential disease-modifying effects.

  3. Improved diagnostic accuracy through biomarkers and brain imaging allows for more precise clinical trials, providing unprecedented insights into efficacy.

In conclusion, while challenges persist, the landscape of AD treatment is evolving positively, offering hope for improved outcomes in the near future.

Domenico Praticò, MD, holds the position of the Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation Chair for Alzheimer’s Research and serves as a Professor and the Director at the Alzheimer’s Center at Temple, as well as a Professor of Pharmacology at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University.

For more information on the research conducted by Dr. Domenico Pratico, please visit this link.

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Stay updated with the work happening at Dr. Domenico Pratico's lab by visiting the Pratico Lab website. 


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