German researchers have developed candidate drug bearing name PRI-002. It eliminates toxic and harmful beta-amyloid oligomers which are the self-replicating proteins suspected of being the cause and reason for advancement of Alzheimer’s disease. The group of scientists had previously proved how the drug could reduce symptoms and signs in older mice significantly. The mice had been genetically engineered in a way such that they developed Alzheimer’s disease by mutant human gene insertion. The preclinical research was published online last year in Molecular Neurobiology. Healthy volunteers were given the drug for 4 weeks, completely phase 1 of the clinical trial. It proved to be safe for use by humans, meaning that the drug will now be tested in phase 2 for evaluation of effectiveness in humans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, said Professor Dr. Dieter Willbold who along with his team will conduct phase 2 testing of PRI-002 via private company Priavoid.
The main cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. It destroys power in humans to think or remember or relate to others. Gradually brain cells are killed off, meaning patients lose capabilities to lead independent lives. In US alone, 5.8million people are living with the disease. Scientists agree that beta-amyloid oligomers clumps, which are aggregated, toxic forms of naturally occurring, non-toxic beta-amyloid monomers, most likely lead to Alzheimer’s. The oligomers disrupt proper functioning of nerve cells, can easily travel throughout brain and replicate.
Although many Alzheimer’s candidate drugs showed a lot of promise, they eventually failed to qualify human trials confirming their safety and efficacy. PRI-002 operates differently by causing toxic oligomers to disintegrate back into non-harmful monomers. Immune system, hence, plays no role. Also, PRI-002 belongs to new D-peptide class of drug is exact reflections of their naturally-existing equivalents. Hence, chances of elimination by body are lowered. The drug has more stability to be made into oral forms like capsules or tablets. PRI-002 completed 2 stages- SAD (single administrative dose) and MAD (multiple administrative drugs). The former, completed in July 2018, showed that one dose of PRI-002 was well-tolerated and safe. The latter was reported to have been finished in April 2019.