Seminal, highly anticipated Alzheimer’s trial falters


Detailed data coming soon

Trial participants were randomly assigned to receive either solanezumab, gantenerumab, or matching placebo. To act as a comparator group, family members without the AD mutation were also included.

The primary measure was change from baseline in the DIAN-TU cognitive composite score. Secondary measures included changes on the Mini-Mental State Examination, the Functional Assessment Scale, the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire, the 12-item International Shopping List Test, the Memory Complaint Questionnaire, and the Wechsler Memory Scale Logical Memory/Paragraph Memory test.

The researchers also conducted imaging scans and collected samples of blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

Along with announcing the negative top-line results for the trial, the investigators noted that “a more detailed analysis of the trial’s data” will be presented at the Advances in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Therapies in Vienna on April 2, 2020, and at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Amsterdam in July.

The researchers will continue to explore all data gathered – but already new insights have been discovered into the development and progression of AD, Dr. Bateman noted.

Included among these discoveries is that brain changes that occur as the disease progresses are similar among those with the inherited, early-onset form of AD and the late-onset form.

“The trial’s innovative design ... will make advances for future Alzheimer’s trials. Ongoing and continued research and trials will bring us closer to our goal to stop Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Bateman said. “We will continue until we are successful.”

“These results reflect the difficult nature of treating [AD] and the great need for continued research,” said Daniel Skovronsky, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Labs.

“If we have learned one thing after more than 30 years of Alzheimer’s research, it is that even negative results propel the science forward,” he added.

Lilly noted in a statement that the DIAN-TU top-line results will not affect its ongoing A4 study of solanezumab. Roche noted in its own statement that the findings also will not affect the company’s ongoing GRADUATE studies of gantenerumab.

“The work doesn’t stop here”

Richard J. Hodes, MD, director of the National Institute on Aging, said that DIAN-TU will advance the field’s knowledge about a complex disease.

“We look forward to learning more through the published, peer-reviewed data, which will provide a broad range of scientists with crucial information and guidance for future research,” he said.

Howard Fillit, MD, founding executive director and chief science officer at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), agreed.

“While we are disappointed that patients in this study did not see a benefit, we need to keep in mind that Alzheimer’s is a complicated disease due to complex, multifactorial causes,” he said in a statement.

“ADDF has long supported a broader approach that moves past targeting beta-amyloid and advances a diverse pipeline of drugs addressing multiple targets” in AD, Dr. Fillit added. “We need multiple ‘shots on goals’ to discover effective drugs.”

Dr. Edelmayer said the results emphasize that “this story isn’t yet completely told” and that there is still a lot to learn from the data, especially regarding the biomarkers that were tested.

“With that information, we will gain valuable insight into the outcomes that have been released but will also probably better understand where we should be putting our energies and focus moving forward,” she said.

Going forward, “we will continue this fight until we have an effective treatment for all individuals living with Alzheimer’s, whether it’s dominantly inherited [AD] or the more common version, which is the late-onset or sporadic form of the disease,” said Dr. Edelmayer.

“We have to stay optimistic. The work doesn’t stop here.”

The trial was funded by Eli Lilly, Roche, the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Institute on Aging, the GHR Foundation, and FBRI.

This article first appeared on Medscape.com.

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