Global Phase III Study Evaluates New Drug for Early Form of Dementia
LMTX treats disease similar to Alzheimer’s (Sept. 10)
TauRx Therapeutics, based in Manchester, U.K., announced on September 10 that it has initiated a global phase III clinical trial in a type of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), also known as Pick’s Disease. The announcement underscores the need for new treatments for this form of dementia, which is similar to Alzheimer’s disease, except that it tends to damage different areas of the brain and can affect people as young as 40 years old.
The new study is focusing on a type of FTD known as behavioral-variant FTD (bvFTD), which can cause early changes in personality and loss of empathy. A large percentage of these patients have a specific pathology that involves abnormal collections of tau protein in the brain.
The study drug, LMTX, targets a process in the brain whereby a normal form of tau protein begins to self-aggregate due to binding neuronal waste-products. Once this process has started, the aggregates are able to propagate themselves indefinitely, using up normal tau protein and converting it into the toxic aggregates. After destroying the nerve cells where they are initially formed, the aggregates go on to infect nearby healthy neurons, progressively spreading and accelerating the destruction throughout the brain. LMTX stops this aggregation process and releases the trapped tau protein in a form that can be easily cleared by nerve cells.
In a pilot series of cases, LMTX was found to arrest the progression of the disease. LMTX has been found to act in a similar way on the aggregation of TDP-43 protein. Tau or TDP-43 aggregates each account for about 50% of patients with this early form of dementia.
For more information, visit the TauRx Therapeutics Web site.