The aim of the study was to assess the clinical efficacy, safety, and disease-modification effects of tramiprosate (homotaurine, ALZHEMED(TM)) in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial in 67 clinical centres across North America. Patients aged ≥ 50 years, with mild-to-moderate AD (Mini-Mental State Examination score between 16 and 26) and on stable doses of cholinesterase inhibitors, alone or with memantine.
78-week treatment with placebo, tramiprosate 100 mg or tramiprosate 150 mg BID.
Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale - cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) and Clinical Dementia Rating - Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB) assessments were performed at baseline and every 13 weeks. Baseline and 78-week magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) hippocampus volume (HV) measurements were conducted in a subgroup of patients.
A total of 1,052 patients were enrolled and 790 (75.1%) completed the 78-week trial. Patient discontinuation and reasons for withdrawal were similar across groups. Planned analyses did not reveal statistically significant between-group differences. Lack of adequate statistical validity of the planned analysis models led to the development of revised predictive models. These adjusted models showed a trend toward a treatment effect for ADAS-cog (P = 0.098) and indicated significantly less HV loss for tramiprosate 100 mg (P = 0.035) and 150 mg (P = 0.009) compared to placebo. The incidence of adverse events was similar across treatment groups.
The primary planned analyses did not show a significant treatment effect, but were confounded by unexplained variance. Post-hoc analyses showed a significant treatment-related reduction in HV loss. However, there was only a trend towards slowing of decline on the ADAS-cog and no slowing of decline on the CDR-SB. These results must be interpreted in consideration of the limitations of clinical and disease-modification outcome measures and their relationship, the heterogeneity of the disease and the impact of confounding demographic and clinical variables.
... In large drug screening assays, homotaurine was found to physically interfere with amyloid aggregation in vitro, making it a candidate treatment for Alzheimer's disease. In a large phase III clinical study with Alzheimer's patients, homotaurine (also known as Tramiprosate) treatment over 1.5 years failed to meet primary endpoints, but the treatment appeared to be very safe . A follow-up MRI study of a subgroup of these patients indicated that homotaurine treatment slowed hippocampal atrophy with some evidence of a beneficial effect on cognition . ...
... Thus, homotaurine has the potential to reduce dysregulated immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, reduce viral loads, and act directly in the CNS to limit the inflammatory activities of glial cells and infiltrating immune cells. As noted above, homotaurine was found to be very safe in a large long-term phase III clinical study with Alzheimer's patients . ...
GABA and GABAA-receptors (GABAA-Rs) play major roles in neurodevelopment and neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS). There has been a growing appreciation that GABAA-Rs are also present on most immune cells. Studies in the fields of autoimmune disease, cancer, parasitology, and virology have observed that GABA-R ligands have anti-inflammatory actions on T cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs), while also enhancing regulatory T cell (Treg) responses and shifting APCs toward anti-inflammatory phenotypes. These actions have enabled GABAA-R ligands to ameliorate autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes (T1D), multiple sclerosis (MS), and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as type 2 diabetes (T2D)-associated inflammation in preclinical models. Conversely, antagonism of GABAA-R activity promotes the pro-inflammatory responses of T cells and APCs, enhancing anti-tumor responses and reducing tumor burden in models of solid tumors. Lung epithelial cells also express GABA-Rs, whose activation helps maintain fluid homeostasis and promote recovery from injury. The ability of GABAA-R agonists to limit both excessive immune responses and lung epithelial cell injury may underlie recent findings that GABAA-R agonists reduce the severity of disease in mice infected with highly lethal coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-2 and MHV-1). These observations suggest that GABAA-R agonists may provide off-the-shelf therapies for COVID-19 caused by new SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as novel beta-coronaviruses, which evade vaccine-induced immune responses and antiviral medications. We review these findings and further advance the notions that (1) immune cells possess GABAA-Rs to limit inflammation in the CNS, and (2) this natural “braking system” on inflammatory responses may be pharmacologically engaged to slow the progression of autoimmune diseases, reduce the severity of COVID-19, and perhaps limit neuroinflammation associated with long COVID.
... Certainly, GABA A receptor inverse agonists attenuate scopolamine-induced cognitive dysfunction and working memory impairment . An experimental study showed that GABA A receptor inverse agonists can abrogate hippocampal dysfunction-induced cognitive deficits in mice . ...
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most frequent type of dementia characterized by the deposition of amyloid beta (Aβ) plaque and tau-neurofibrillary tangles (TNTs) in the brain. AD is associated with the disturbances of various neurotransmitters including gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Of note, GABA is reduced in AD, and restoration of GABA effect by benzodiazepines (BDZs) may improve AD outcomes. However, BDZs may adversely affect cognitive functions chiefly in elderly AD patients with sleep disorders. Besides, there is a controversy regarding the use of BDZs in AD. Consequently, the objective of the present review was to disclose the possible role of BDZs on the pathogenesis of AD that might be beneficial, neutral, or detrimental effects on AD. Prolonged use of intermediate-acting BDZ lorazepam exerts amnesic effects due to attenuation of synaptic plasticity and impairment of recognition memory. However, BDZs may have a protective effect against the development of AD by reducing tau phosphorylation, neuroinflammation, and progression of AD neuropathology. On the other side, other findings highlighted that extended use of BDZs was not associated with the development of AD. In conclusion, there are controversial points concerning the use of BDZs and the risk for the progression of AD. Thus, preclinical, and clinical studies are essential in this regard.
... Patients were randomized to homotaurine 100 mg, 150 mg, or placebo for 78 consecutive weeks, taking two doses daily. The study concluded that homotaurine (150 mg) has an effect in slowing hippocampal atrophy and showed evidence of a beneficial effect on cognition [55,79]. ...
Neurodegenerative diseases are caused by the gradual loss of neurons’ function. These neurological illnesses remain incurable, and current medicines only alleviate the symptoms. Given the social and economic burden caused by the rising frequency of neurodegenerative diseases, there is an urgent need for the development of appropriate therapeutics. Natural compounds are gaining popularity as alternatives to synthetic drugs due to their neuroprotective properties and higher biocompatibility. While natural compounds’ therapeutic effects for neurodegenerative disease treatment have been investigated in numerous in vitro and in vivo studies, only few have moved to clinical trials. This article provides the first systematic review of the clinical trials evaluating natural compounds’ safety and efficacy for the treatment of the five most prevalent neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Huntington’s disease.
... In addition, tramiprosate which is an analog of GABA was shown to be effective against Aβ toxicity and the development of AD. Tramiprosate reverses long-term potentiation inhibition via activation of the GABA A receptor (Aisen et al. 2011). ...
Dementia is considered a clinical syndrome characterized by cognitive dysfunction and memory loss. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia. AD is linked with the turbulence of diverse neurotransmitters including gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Notably, GABA in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid was reduced in AD. Thus, allosteric modulation of the GABA effect by benzodiazepines (BDZs) may improve the clinical outcomes of AD patients. Therefore, the objective of the present review was to reveal the possible role of BDZs on the pathogenesis and clinical outcomes in AD patients. Though BDZs may adversely affect cognitive functions mainly in elderly patients, herein it was postulated that BDZs may have beneficial, neutral, or detrimental effects in AD. Taken together, there is strong controversy regarding the use of BDZs and the risk for the development of AD. Therefore, experimental, preclinical and clinical studies are critical to determine the potential protective or detrimental effects of BDZs on AD neuropathology.
... Preclinical and clinical studies showed that the oral treatment of tramiprosate could reduce oligomeric and fibrillar (plaque) amyloid, diminish hippocampal atrophy, improve cholinergic transmission, and stabilize cognition (Manzano et al., 2020). Although tramiprosate is safe and well tolerated, the clinical trials were terminated in Phase III trial owing to the failure in demonstrating efficacy (Aisen et al., 2011;Herrmann et al., 2011). ALZ-801 is an oral valine-conjugated pro-drug of tramiprosate, providing significantly improved pharmacokinetic variability and gastrointestinal tolerance (Hey et al., 2018b), inhibiting the formation of amyloid oligomers without plaque interaction. ...
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an irreversible, progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder with no effective therapeutic drugs currently. The complicated pathophysiology of AD is not well understood, although beta-amyloid (Aβ) cascade and hyperphosphorylated tau protein were regarded as the two main causes of AD. Other mechanisms, such as oxidative stress, deficiency of central cholinergic neurotransmitters, mitochondrial dysfunction, and inflammation, were also proposed and studied as targets in AD. This review aims to summarize the small-molecule drugs that were developed based on the pathogenesis and gives a deeper understanding of the AD. We hope that it could help scientists find new and better treatments to gradually conquer the problems related to AD in future.
To investigate the effects of the three kinds of anti-amyloid-β (Aβ) drugs on cognitive and other functions, fluid and neuroimaging biomarkers, and safety on patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), and rank the three kinds of anti-Aβ drugs.
We searched Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, ClinicalTrials.gov, and AlzForum from inception to January 21, 2023 to include randomized controlled clinical trials. Random effects meta-analyses were performed.
Forty-one clinical trials (20929 participants, 9167 male) were included. Anti-Aβ drugs had significant but relatively low efficacy in preventing cognitive decline (ADAS-Cog SMD -0.07, 95% CI: -0.10 to -0.03, p < 0.001; CDR-SOB -0.05, -0.09 to -0.01, p = 0.017). Instrumental variable meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis confirmed the reliability of the pooled estimation. Beneficial effects were also observed by assessing other cognitive and activity of daily living scales and biomarkers, with acceptable safety of anti-Aβ drugs. Meta-regression demonstrated significant association between higher baseline mini-mental statement examination scores (MMSE) and better cognitive protective effects on cognitive function (ADAS-Cog β: -0.02, -0.05 to 0.00, p = 0.017) and clearance of pathological productions of anti-Aβ drugs. Network meta-analysis ranked the passive immunotherapy drugs to have the best cognitive efficacy, followed by active immunotherapy and small molecule drugs.
Anti-Aβ drugs have relatively low efficacy in preventing cognitive decline, and they reduce pathological productions with acceptable safety. Patients with higher baseline MMSE scores benefit more from anti-Aβ drugs. Passive immunotherapy anti-Aβ drugs show relatively better efficacy than active immunotherapy and small molecule anti-Aβ drugs.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most widespread form of neurodegenerative disorder that causes memory loss and multiple cognitive issues. The underlying mechanisms of AD include the build-up of amyloid-β and phosphorylated tau, synaptic damage, elevated levels of microglia and astrocytes, abnormal microRNAs, mitochondrial dysfunction, hormonal imbalance, and age-related neuronal loss. However, the etiology of AD is complex and involves a multitude of environmental and genetic factors. Currently, available AD medications only alleviate symptoms and do not provide a permanent cure. Therefore, there is a need for therapies that can prevent or reverse cognitive decline, brain tissue loss, and neural instability. Stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for AD because stem cells possess the unique ability to differentiate into any type of cell and maintain their self-renewal. This article provides an overview of the pathophysiology of AD and existing pharmacological treatments. This review article focuses on the role of various types of stem cells in neuroregeneration, the potential challenges, and the future of stem cell-based therapies for AD, including nano delivery and gaps in stem cell technology.
Clinical trials of putative disease-modifying therapies in neurodegeneration have obeyed the century-old principle of convergence, or lumping, whereby any feature of a clinicopathologic disease entity is considered relevant to most of those affected. While this convergent approach has resulted in important successes in trials of symptomatic therapies, largely aimed at correcting common neurotransmitter deficiencies (e.g., cholinergic deficiency in Alzheimer's disease or dopaminergic deficiency in Parkinson's disease), it has been consistently futile in trials of neuroprotective or disease-modifying interventions. As individuals affected by the same neurodegenerative disorder do not share the same biological drivers, splitting such disease into small molecular/biological subtypes, to match people to therapies most likely to benefit them, is vital in the pursuit of disease modification. We here discuss three paths toward the splitting needed for future successes in precision medicine: (1) encourage the development of aging cohorts agnostic to phenotype in order to enact a biology-to-phenotype direction of biomarker development and validate divergence biomarkers (present in some, absent in most); (2) demand bioassay-based recruitment of subjects into disease-modifying trials of putative neuroprotective interventions in order to match the right therapies to the right recipients; and (3) evaluate promising epidemiologic leads of presumed pathogenetic potential using Mendelian randomization studies before designing the corresponding clinical trials. The reconfiguration of disease-modifying efforts for patients with neurodegenerative disorders will require a paradigm shift from lumping to splitting and from proteinopathy to proteinopenia.
Cerebral clearance of amyloid β‐protein (Aβ) is decreased in early‐onset and late‐onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). Aβ is cleared from the brain by enzymatic degradation and by transport out of the brain. More than 20 Aβ‐degrading enzymes have been described. Increasing the degradation of Aβ offers an opportunity to decrease brain Aβ levels in AD patients. This review discusses the direct and indirect approaches which have been used in experimental systems to alter the expression and/or activity of Aβ‐degrading enzymes. Also discussed are the enzymes’ regulatory mechanisms, the conformations of Aβ they degrade, where in the scheme of Aβ production, extracellular release, cellular uptake, and intracellular degradation they exert their activities, and changes in their expression and/or activity in AD and its animal models. Most of the experimental approaches require further confirmation. Based upon each enzyme's effects on Aβ (some of the enzymes also possess β‐secretase activity and may therefore promote Aβ production), its direction of change in AD and/or its animal models, and the Aβ conformation(s) it degrades, investigating the effects of increasing the expression of neprilysin in AD patients would be of particular interest. Increasing the expression of insulin degrading enzyme, endothelin‐converting enzyme‐1, endothelin‐converting enzyme‐2, tissue plasminogen activator, angiotensin‐converting enzyme, and presequence peptidase would also be of interest. Increasing matrix metalloproteinase‐2, matrix metalloproteinase‐9, cathepsin‐B, and cathepsin‐D expression would be problematic because of possible damage by the metalloproteinases to the blood brain barrier and the cathepsins’ β‐secretase activity. CONCLUSION: Many interventions which increase the enzymatic degradation of Aβ have been shown to decrease AD‐type pathology in experimental models. If a safe approach can be found to increase the expression or activity of selected Aβ‐degrading enzymes in human subjects, then the possibility that this approach could slow AD progression should be examined in clinical trials.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and GABA-receptors (GABA-Rs) form a major neurotransmitter system in the brain. GABA-Rs are also expressed by 1) cells of the innate and adaptive immune system and act to inhibit their inflammatory activities, and 2) lung epithelial cells and GABA-R agonists/potentiators have been observed to limit acute lung injuries. These biological properties suggest that GABA-R agonists may have potential for treating COVID-19. We previously reported that GABA-R agonist treatments protected mice from severe disease induced by infection with a lethal mouse coronavirus (MHV-1). Because MHV-1 targets different cellular receptors and is biologically distinct from SARS-CoV-2, we sought to test GABA therapy in K18-hACE2 mice which develop severe pneumonitis with high lethality following SARS-CoV-2 infection. We observed that GABA treatment initiated immediately after SARS-CoV-2 infection, or 2 days later near the peak of lung viral load, reduced pneumonitis severity and death rates in K18-hACE2 mice. GABA-treated mice had reduced lung viral loads and displayed shifts in their serum cytokine/chemokine levels that are associated with better outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Thus, GABA-R activation had multiple effects that are also desirable for the treatment of COVID-19. The protective effects of GABA against two very different beta coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-2 and MHV-1) suggest that it may provide a generalizable off-the-shelf therapy to help treat diseases induced by new SARS-CoV-2 variants and novel coronaviruses that evade immune responses and antiviral medications. GABA is inexpensive, safe for human use, and stable at room temperature, making it an attractive candidate for testing in clinical trials. We also discuss the potential of GABA-R agonists for limiting COVID-19-associated neuroinflammation.
For approximately 80 years following Alzheirner ' s description of the disease that bears his name, a gulf divided researchers who believed that extracellular deposits of the amyloid beta (A beta) peptide were pathogenic from those who believed that the deposits were secondary detritus. Since 1990, the discoveries of missense mutations in the AP peptide precursor (APP) and the APP-cleaving enzyme presenifin 1 (PS1) have enabled much progress in understanding the molecular, cellular, and tissue pathology of the aggregates that accumulate in the interstices of the brains of patients with autosomal dominant familial Alzheimer disease (AD). Clarification of the molecular basis of common forms of AD has been more elusive. The central questions in common AD focus on whether cerebral and cerebrovascular A beta accumulation is (a) a final neurotoxic pathway, common to all forms of AD; (b) a toxic by-product of an independent primary metabolic lesion that, by itself, is also neurotoxic; or (c) an inert by-product of an independent primary neurotoxic reaction. Antiamyloid medications are entering clinical trials so that researchers can evaluate whether abolition of cerebral amyloidosis can mitigate, treat, or prevent the dementia associated with common forms of AD. Successful development of antiamyloid medications is critical for elucidating the role of A beta in common AD.
Histopathological studies and animal models suggest that different physiological and pathophysiological processes exert different subfield specific effects on the hippocampus. High-resolution images at 4T depict details of the internal structure of the hippocampus allowing for in vivo volumetry of hippocampal subfields. The aims of this study were (1) to determine patterns of hippocampal subfield volume loss due to normal aging and Apo e4 carrier state, (2) to determine subfield specific volume losses due to preclinical (MCI) and clinical Alzheimer's disease (AD) and their modification due to age and Apo e4 carrier state. One hundred fifty seven subjects (119 cognitively healthy elderly controls, 20 MCI and 18 AD) were studied with a high resolution T2 weighted imaging sequence obtained at 4T aimed at the hippocampus. Apo e4 carrier state was known in 95 subjects (66 controls, 14 MCI, 15 AD). Subiculum (SUB), CA1, CA1-CA2 transition zone (CA1-2 transition), CA3- dentate gyrus (CA3&DG) were manually marked. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to test for effects of age, Apo e4 carrier state and effects of MCI and AD on different hippocampal subfields. Age had a significant negative effect on CA1 and CA3&DG volumes in controls (P < 0.05). AD had significantly smaller volumes of SUB, CA1, CA1-2 transition, and MCI had smaller CA1-2 transition volumes than controls (P < 0.05). Apo e4 carrier state was associated with volume loss in CA3&DG compared to non-Apo e4 carriers in healthy controls and AD. Based on these findings, we conclude that subfield volumetry provides regional selective information that allows to distinguish between different normal and pathological processes affecting the hippocampus and thus for an improved differential diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases affecting the hippocampus.
This article reports the development and psychometric properties of the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study-Clinical Global Impression of Change (ADCS-CGIC). At present, a number of unvalidated CGIC scales are used in clinical trials, with various methods for making ratings. The ADCS-CGIC was designed on the basis of a survey of ADCS clinicians and by adapting existing instruments. It includes an organized but unstructured format, with which a clinician can address clinically relevant change. The instrument's reliability and validity were assessed in a prospective trial of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and healthy subjects over a 12-month period. It showed good short-term reliability at 1 and 2 months, with 90 and 94% of AD subjects, respectively, rated as having changed not at all or only minimally. The ADCS-CGIC's face validity was demonstrated by untreated AD subjects rated as having worsened over time at both 6 months (56% rated as having worsened) and 12 months (81% rated as having worsened), whereas only 2% of control subjects showed minimal worsening. As a measure of predictive validity, ADCS-CGIC ratings at 12 months were significantly associated with change on four severity scales. As with other measures, change ratings were sensitive to dementia severity. Moderately impaired subjects showed greater worsening than other subjects. ADCS-CGIC ratings of greater worsening were made after the informant interview, regardless of whether informants or subjects were interviewed first. The ADCS-CGIC is a valid and reliable instrument for use in clinical trials.
(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.
The efficacy, safety and disease-modification of tramiprosate (homotaurine)were investigated in a recently completed large-scale Phase III clinical study in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD), the Alphase study. Disease-modification was assessed using longitudinal volumetric MRI (vMRI) measurements of the hippocampus in a subgroup of patients. The present study describes the vMRI, cognitive and clinical results obtained in this subgroup.
Multi-center, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study in a subset of the 1052 patients of the Alphase study. Setting: 51 vMRI investigative sites in the United States and Canada.
A total of 508 patients underwent vMRI scanning. Of these, 312 provided scan pairs for assessing hippocampus volume changes and were included in the analyses.
Patients were randomized to receive Placebo BID (n = 109), tramiprosate 100 mg BID (n = 103), or tramiprosate 150 mg BID (n = 100) for 78 weeks.
Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) and Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum-of-boxes CDR-SB assessments were conducted at Baseline and at Weeks 13, 26, 39, 52, 65 and 78. Exploratory analyses were performed using similar First and Final mixed-effects repeated-measures models that were used for the analysis of the entire patient dataset.
Psychometric score results showed numerical trends in favour of tramiprosate that did not reach statistical significance. While there were no statistically significant group differences in hippocampus volume using the First modeling approach, a significant dose-response reduction in hippocampus volume change was found in the Final models. Moreover, there was a marginally significant overall treatment main effect and a significant slope difference in favour of tramiprosate according to the Final model analysis of the ADAS-cog scores. ADAS-cog scores analyzed according to this model also revealed differences in favor of the tramiprosate 150 mg group at weeks 26 and 52, with marginally significant differences at Weeks 13 and 39. Slope analyses of ADAS-cog score changes showed significant differences in favor of the 150 mg BID group, and when both active groups were combined, in comparison to the placebo group. No between-group differences with respect to changes to each visit in the CDR-SB were observed with either modeling approach. Although there was a similar dose-response relationship observed in the hippocampus volume and ADAS-cog Final model analyses, the overall changes in psychometric scores and hippocampus volume were not significantly correlated.
Exploratory analysis of the vMRI subgroup suggests that tramiprosate slows hippocampal atrophy, and reveals some evidence of a beneficial effect on cognition. The clinical validity of the vMRI biomarker is discussed.
The National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association charged a workgroup with the task of revising the 1984 criteria for Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia. The workgroup sought to ensure that the revised criteria would be flexible enough to be used by both general healthcare providers without access to neuropsychological testing, advanced imaging, and cerebrospinal fluid measures, and specialized investigators involved in research or in clinical trial studies who would have these tools available. We present criteria for all-cause dementia and for AD dementia. We retained the general framework of probable AD dementia from the 1984 criteria. On the basis of the past 27 years of experience, we made several changes in the clinical criteria for the diagnosis. We also retained the term possible AD dementia, but redefined it in a manner more focused than before. Biomarker evidence was also integrated into the diagnostic formulations for probable and possible AD dementia for use in research settings. The core clinical criteria for AD dementia will continue to be the cornerstone of the diagnosis in clinical practice, but biomarker evidence is expected to enhance the pathophysiological specificity of the diagnosis of AD dementia. Much work lies ahead for validating the biomarker diagnosis of AD dementia.