New Research Could Explain Some Alzheimer’s Drug Trial Failures
Inadequate blood flow to the brain due to a mini-stroke is a hallmark of a disease called Vascular Cognitive Impairment and Dementia, or VCID, which is the second leading cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers estimate that up to 60 percent of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease also have VCID. Dr. Donna Wilcock of the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging recently published a report explaining that a certain immunotherapy targeted to someone with Alzheimer’s may be ineffective if that person also has VCID.
"These findings are important in that they provide a possible explanation for why certain clinical trials of immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s disease have been historically unsuccessful,” Wilcock said, referring to findings outlined in her paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience. “If up to 40 percent of people with Alzheimer’s have VCID, treatment candidates that target only the AD physiology won’t be effective in those patients. It’s like treating only half the disease.”
Dr. Wilcock said clinical trials seeking to reduce levels of certain brain plaques that are believed to cause Alzheimer’s may explain why some of these trials are failing “and eventually open the door for a combination treatment for VCID and AD.”
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