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Drug candidates in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease

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      Abstract

      Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a major form of senile dementia, characterized by progressive memory and neuronal loss combined with cognitive impairment. AD is the most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide, affecting one-fifth of those aged over 85 years. Recent therapeutic approaches have been strongly influenced by five neuropathological hallmarks of AD: acetylcholine deficiency, glutamate excitotoxicity, extracellular deposition of amyloid-β (Aβ plague), formation of intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles (NTFs), and neuroinflammation. The lowered concentrations of acetylcholine (ACh) in AD result in a progressive and significant loss of cognitive and behavioral function. Current AD medications, memantine and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) alleviate some of these symptoms by enhancing cholinergic signaling, but they are not curative. Since 2003, no new drugs have been approved for the treatment of AD. This article focuses on the current research in clinical trials targeting the neuropathological findings of AD including acetylcholine response, glutamate transmission, Aβ clearance, tau protein deposits, and neuroinflammation. These investigations include acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, agonists and antagonists of neurotransmitter receptors, β-secretase (BACE) or γ-secretase inhibitors, vaccines or antibodies targeting Aβ clearance or tau protein, as well as anti-inflammation compounds. Ongoing Phase III clinical trials via passive immunotherapy against Aβ peptides (crenezumab, gantenerumab, and aducanumab) seem to be promising. Using small molecules blocking 5-HT 6 serotonin receptor (intepirdine), inhibiting BACE activity (E2609, AZD3293, and verubecestat), or reducing tau aggregation (TRx0237) are also currently in Phase III clinical trials. We here systemically review the findings from recent clinical trials to provide a comprehensive review of novel therapeutic compounds in the treatment and prevention of AD.

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      The amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease: progress and problems on the road to therapeutics.

       D. Selkoe,  John Hardy (2002)
      It has been more than 10 years since it was first proposed that the neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) may be caused by deposition of amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta) in plaques in brain tissue. According to the amyloid hypothesis, accumulation of Abeta in the brain is the primary influence driving AD pathogenesis. The rest of the disease process, including formation of neurofibrillary tangles containing tau protein, is proposed to result from an imbalance between Abeta production and Abeta clearance.
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        The amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease at 25 years

        Abstract Despite continuing debate about the amyloid β‐protein (or Aβ hypothesis, new lines of evidence from laboratories and clinics worldwide support the concept that an imbalance between production and clearance of Aβ42 and related Aβ peptides is a very early, often initiating factor in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Confirmation that presenilin is the catalytic site of γ‐secretase has provided a linchpin: all dominant mutations causing early‐onset AD occur either in the substrate (amyloid precursor protein, APP) or the protease (presenilin) of the reaction that generates Aβ. Duplication of the wild‐type APP gene in Down's syndrome leads to Aβ deposits in the teens, followed by microgliosis, astrocytosis, and neurofibrillary tangles typical of AD. Apolipoprotein E4, which predisposes to AD in > 40% of cases, has been found to impair Aβ clearance from the brain. Soluble oligomers of Aβ42 isolated from AD patients' brains can decrease synapse number, inhibit long‐term potentiation, and enhance long‐term synaptic depression in rodent hippocampus, and injecting them into healthy rats impairs memory. The human oligomers also induce hyperphosphorylation of tau at AD‐relevant epitopes and cause neuritic dystrophy in cultured neurons. Crossing human APP with human tau transgenic mice enhances tau‐positive neurotoxicity. In humans, new studies show that low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Aβ42 and amyloid‐PET positivity precede other AD manifestations by many years. Most importantly, recent trials of three different Aβ antibodies (solanezumab, crenezumab, and aducanumab) have suggested a slowing of cognitive decline in post hoc analyses of mild AD subjects. Although many factors contribute to AD pathogenesis, Aβ dyshomeostasis has emerged as the most extensively validated and compelling therapeutic target.
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          Advancing research diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer's disease: the IWG-2 criteria.

          In the past 8 years, both the International Working Group (IWG) and the US National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer's Association have contributed criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) that better define clinical phenotypes and integrate biomarkers into the diagnostic process, covering the full staging of the disease. This Position Paper considers the strengths and limitations of the IWG research diagnostic criteria and proposes advances to improve the diagnostic framework. On the basis of these refinements, the diagnosis of AD can be simplified, requiring the presence of an appropriate clinical AD phenotype (typical or atypical) and a pathophysiological biomarker consistent with the presence of Alzheimer's pathology. We propose that downstream topographical biomarkers of the disease, such as volumetric MRI and fluorodeoxyglucose PET, might better serve in the measurement and monitoring of the course of disease. This paper also elaborates on the specific diagnostic criteria for atypical forms of AD, for mixed AD, and for the preclinical states of AD. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0083 6092, GRID grid.254145.3, Graduate Institute of Acupuncture Science, College of Chinese Medicine, , China Medical University, ; Taichung, 40402 Taiwan
            [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0572 9415, GRID grid.411508.9, Division of Colorectal Surgery, , China Medical University Hospital, ; Taichung, 40447 Taiwan
            [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0546 0241, GRID grid.19188.39, Pharmacological Institute, College of Medicine, , National Taiwan University, ; No. 1, Sec. 1, Jen-Ai Road, Taipei, 10051 Taiwan
            Contributors
            886-4-22053366 , shihyahung@mail.cmu.edu.tw
            886-223123456 , wenmei@ntu.edu.tw
            Journal
            J Biomed Sci
            J. Biomed. Sci
            Journal of Biomedical Science
            BioMed Central (London )
            1021-7770
            1423-0127
            19 July 2017
            19 July 2017
            2017
            : 24
            5516350 355 10.1186/s12929-017-0355-7
            © The Author(s). 2017

            Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

            Funding
            Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100004663, Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan;
            Award ID: MOST 105-2320-B-039-009-
            Award Recipient :
            Funded by: China Medical University, Taiwan
            Award ID: CMU104-N-10
            Award Recipient :
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            © The Author(s) 2017

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