Incorporation of Biomarkers, Synaptic Plasticity, in Treatment Paradigm for Alzheimer Disease: Alessio Travaglia, PhD


The director at the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health discussed relevant biomarkers for Alzheimer disease and their role as novel therapeutics continue to emerge. [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 5 minutes

"Having the right patient with these biomarkers are going to ensure that the drugs work the way should work. We're going to measure efficacy of the drug using these biomarkers as endpoints for clinical trials."

Drugs that prevent the onset, slow progression, or improve cognitive and behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer disease (AD) are needed. A recently published overview of the therapeutic pipeline for AD revealed that there are currently 187 trials assessing 141 unique treatments for AD, with most of these therapies considered disease-modifying (79%). Thirty-six drugs are being assessed in phase 3, 87 in phase 2, and 31 in phase 1.1

From the target perspective, 16% (n = 22) of agents have amyloid, 9% (n = 13) tau, 17% (n = 24) inflammation, 13% (n = 18) synaptic plasticity/neuroprotection, 7% (n = 10) metabolism and bioenergetics, 5% (n = 7) oxidative stress, and 3% (n = 4) proteostasis/proteinopathy. Several failed therapies have paved the way for potential new treatments, all of which are assessed through biomarker analyses, not solely cognitive or performance-based tests. Biomarkers represent a critical part of dementia research, helping detect early brain changes, understanding how risk factors are involved, and identifying participants who meet particular requirements for clinical trials, among other roles.

At the recently concluded 2023 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), held July 16-20, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Alessio Travaglia, PhD, presented 2 poster sessions on the use of biomarkers, including the Biomarkers Consortium SV2A (synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A) Project. Travaglia, director at the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, sat down for an interview to discuss therapeutic targets that impact AD disease progression, whether some are valued more than others, and how the clinical community can effectively use them to their advantage.

Click here for more coverage of AAIC 2023.

1. Cummings J, Zhou Y, Lee G, Zhong K, Fonseca J, Cheng F. Alzheimer’s disease drug development pipeline: 2023. Alzheimers Dement. 2023;9(2):e12385
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