Last May, Israel’s Avraham Pharmaceuticals announced the beginning of a Phase 2 study of Ladostigil, an Israeli-developed drug candidate to treat mild cognitive impairment, one of the signs associated with the onset of senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Ladostigil is just the latest Israeli advance in the quest to help the global healthcare community prevent, treat and better understand Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a fatal and progressive brain disorder that is the most common cause of dementia worldwide.
AD affects about one in 20 people age 65 or older, accounting for 60-80 percent of dementia cases. In 2010, 5.4 million US citizens were affected by AD, where it is the sixth leading cause of death. One in eight Americans will develop the disease at some point, while more than six million are affected in Europe. About half of AD patients also suffer from depression and up to 40 percent exhibit symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease as well.
Promising results on lab animals
Ladostigil mainly relieves behavioral and psychological symptoms of AD including depression and anxiety. In lab animals, this “neuroprotective” drug also slows the progression of AD symptoms for sustained periods of time and actually modifies the pathology of the disease. The new trials will determine if it has the same effects in humans.
Ladostigil was developed by Prof. Marta Weinstock-Rosin of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, inventor of the AD medication marketed by Novartis as Exelon, and Prof. Moussa Youdim of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, inventor of Teva Pharmaceuticals’ Azilect for treating Parkinson’s disease.
With funding from Teva, the two scientists combined their innovative drugs to develop ladostigil as a more powerful and long-lasting treatment. It was first synthesized by Prof. Michael Chorev at the Hebrew University and is exclusively licensed to Avraham Pharmaceuticals.
The 36-month ladostigil trial will include at least 200 patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment in 16 centers in Europe and Israel. At the same time, a parallel 26-week Phase 2 trial is taking place in 20 sites in five countries across Europe, looking specifically at Ladostigil’s effectiveness against AD in 200 patients. Results are expected by the end of 2012.
Photo by loungerie