Jeffrey Cummings, MD, ScD: Greatest Unmet Needs in Alzheimer Disease

August 8, 2020

The director emeritus of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at Cleveland Clinic and vice chair of the Department of Brain Health at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas discussed the leading challenges for those with Alzheimer disease.

“One of the things that alarmed me was the relatively small number of agents coming into the phase 1 pipeline.”

A recently published systematic review of the Alzheimer disease drug development pipeline led by Jeffrey Cummings, MD, ScD, revealed that research has trended towards an emphasis on nonamyloid targets, including candidate treatments addressing inflammation, synapse and neuronal protection, vascular factors, neurogenesis, and epigenetic interventions. The results also showed that while there are fewer total agents within the pipeline, there has been an increase in repurposed agents and in those in phase 3 trials.

The recent biologics license application for aducanumab has brought a level of hope to the Alzheimer community, as it is positioned to potentially become the first FDA-approved drug for the reduction of clinical decline in AD, as well as the first to demonstrate clinical benefit through amyloid-beta removal. As researchers continue to search for disease-modifying treatments, Cumming’s data shows a general mix of trials that evaluate agents, biomarkers, and lifestyle factors that can lower the risk of developing AD.

Cummings, who is director emeritus of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at Cleveland Clinic and vice chair of the Department of Brain Health at the University of Nevada—Las Vegas, sat down with NeurologyLive in this interview to share his thoughts on what is currently the greatest need in AD, as well as his reactions and surprises to the data.