Ana Pereira, MD: Studying Riluzole in Alzheimer Disease

October 13, 2020

The assistant professor of neurology and neuroscience at Mount Sinai Medical Center discussed the literature that influenced a pilot trial of riluzole in Alzheimer disease.

“The combination of the preclinical data, which was promising, made me as a clinician-scientist want to translate that into the clinic and test these hypotheses in a clinical trial.”

At the recent virtual Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation International Conference, Ana Pereira, MD, assistant professor of neurology and neuroscience, Mount Sinai Medical Center, presented data from a clinical pilot trial of riluzole in patients with Alzheimer disease. All told, the trial met its primary end point, with fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET) measures showing significantly less decline in areas of interest in the brain.

There were no signs of change in the N-acetylaspartate, as measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy Although, the second outcome measure showed a strong correlation between cognitive measures and FDG-PET brain metabolism with riluzole treatment. The results are still not enough to recommend off-label use, however, Pereria and colleagues noted.

Pereira and colleagues concluded that the data support a larger and longer clinical trial to evaluate riluzole’s potential as a treatment in Alzheimer. This work, Pereria told NeurologyLive, was influenced by a number of data indicating that blocking glutamatergic neurotransmission may offer a therapeutic approach to the disease. Pereira expanded on what these influences were and what ultimately prompted her to study the agent in this interview.