Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar     Subscribe     Contact Us    


Vanderbilt Investigational Alzheimer's Drug Scheduled for First Study in Humans


 

In late December, Vanderbilt University scientists received the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to proceed to clinical testing in humans for an investigational new drug for Alzheimer's.

Researchers at Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have already spent more than 10 years working to move the drug from bench to bedside. With first-in-human trials approved, the scientists have moved one step closer to that ultimate goal. Officials with Vanderbilt noted it is relatively uncharted territory for an academic drug discovery group to take a molecule from the laboratory setting to the clinical trials stage.


Susan R. Wente Phd

"The movement to the clinical phase of the research is the result of tireless colleagues reaching across disciplines in pursuit of the shared goal of hoping to someday improve the lives of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and possibly other brain disorders, such as schizophrenia," Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente, PhD said. "This work exactly illustrates the critical role that basic science conducted in partnership with a world-class medical center can play in advancing knowledge in an attempt to fight a devastating disease."

In Alzheimer's, the aim is for the investigational drug to target major pathologies of the disease and selectively activate a key receptor in the brain. The Vanderbilt researchers believe the current standard of care for Alzheimer's disease, cholinesterase inhibitors, has a different mechanism of action. Through future clinical testing, they hope to establish that the molecule is broadly effective across a number of cognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia.


Jeff Conn, Phd

"This is the first instance I am aware of where an academic drug discovery group moved a molecule designed to hopefully treat a chronic brain disorder all the way from early discovery to human trials without there being, at some point along the way, a pharmaceutical partner," said P. Jeffrey Conn, PhD, the Lee E. Limbird Professor of Pharmacology in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD).

"And that really is crossing what people refer to all of the time as the 'Valley of Death,' where good research discoveries have a hard time moving into the clinical testing phase due to lack of funding," he continued.

"Importantly, at this early stage, the FDA has only granted permission to assess potential safety of this investigational new drug in healthy volunteers" said Conn. "We cannot predict the outcome, but if these studies are successful in demonstrating that the investigational drug can be safely administered to humans, this would pave the way to allow filing of additional applications with the FDA to seek permission to advance to testing for efficacy in improving cognitive function in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and possibly schizophrenia or other brain disorders. While we cannot predict the outcome of any future safety or efficacy studies, this decision by FDA allowing clinical research to begin represents a major milestone in allowing us to hopefully provide answers to those critical questions in the future."

The Phase I testing will assess drug safety and tolerability in healthy volunteer participants, a process that could take a year. If successful, the phase II and III studies would include efficacy assessments in patients with Alzheimer's disease and could take three to five years to complete.


Craig Lindsley, Phd

"We are hoping to address what we see as an unmet medical need," said Craig Lindsley, PhD, co-director of the VCNDD, director of Medicinal Chemistry and the William K. Warren, Jr. Professor of Medicine. "For Alzheimer's patients, the standard of care for symptomatic treatment remains cholinesterase inhibitors, which are 25 years old at this point."

Lindsley and Conn credited The William K. Warren Foundation for its philanthropic investments to make clinical trials for this investigational drug a reality. "One of the most challenging things about doing this in an academic environment is funding," Lindsley said. "Every step requires funding ... and if there is a delay or break in funding, then everything sits idle, and potentially innovative approaches for patient care do not advance."

John-Kelly Warren, CEO of the William K. Warren Foundation, noted, "Although this is an important sequential milestone, the only milestone that matters to us is the hope that one day we will learn that this investigational new drug has positively and safely changed the life of a patient suffering from a brain disorder such as schizophrenia or Alzheimer's disease. That day will warrant a celebration felt in the heavens. Until then, we are prepared to support the VCNDD research team until they can deliver the necessary results."


WEB:

Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery

 
Share:

Related Articles:


Recent Articles

Cancer Care on the Cutting Edge

Nashville physician-scientists are helping lead the way in advancing cancer care.

Read More

The Evolution of Senior Living

The senior living industry is undergoing a makeover as baby boomers shift focus from medical-directed care to hospitality-driven services.

Read More

When Basic Science Becomes a Breakthrough

Noted immunologists joined forces at the recent International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference to discuss the importance of fostering and funding basic science.

Read More

Dr. Meredith McKean Brings New Hope, More Options for Melanoma Patients

Oncologist Meredith McKean, MD, MPH, overseeing Sarah Cannon's Melanoma Research Program

Read More

ONcology Rounds

News of note in cancer research, treatment and partnerships.

Read More

Ascension Saint Thomas Opens Cancer Center

Ascension Saint Thomas recently celebrated the grand opening of their comprehensive new cancer center on the Midtown campus.

Read More

NMGMA 10 Minute Takeaway

Medicare Part B representative from Palmetto GBA offered updates and resources to navigate compliance.

Read More

Improving Quality, Lowering Cost of Care for Seniors

Five years into the Medicare Shared Savings Program, more and more ACOs are beginning to demonstrate the ability to improve quality while lowering costs.

Read More

Planning Ahead: Patients & Power of Attorney

The time to think about a durable power of attorney is long before it's needed. Barbara Moss discusses the importance of the document in healthcare.

Read More

Council on Aging Honors Middle Tennesseans

The Council on Aging (COA) of Middle Tennessee hosted their 27th Annual Sage Awards on Oct. 29. With a belief that aging should be celebrated and embraced and that older adults have a lifetime of wisdom and experience to offer communities, the Sage Awards are presented each year to older adults who have made outstanding contributions to Middle Tennessee.

Read More

Email Print
 
 

 

 


Tags:
Alzheimer's Disease, Brain Disorders, Clinical Trials, Craig Lindsley, Jeff Conn, Jeffrey Conn, Schizophrenia, Susan Wente, Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, VUMC
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: