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Special Report: Actinogen Medical has achieved a major milestone, having passed the halfway mark in its landmark Alzheimer’s drug trial.

They recently enrolled the 87th patient out of the 174 planned for the trial.

The phase II trial, known as XanADu, is testing the effectiveness of Actinogen’s novel drug Xanamem, in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Millions of families around the world are hoping for success — for a breakthrough.

Some 425,000 Australians live with dementia and another 300,000 are involved in their care, according to advocacy group Dementia Australia. Dementia is the leading cause of death in Australian women, and second only to cardiovascular disease in Australian men.

One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or dementia in the United States. The cost of providing care for Americans with Alzheimer’s has hit $US277 billion as baby boomers age — and that doesn’t include the 16 million people involved in unpaid care.

Actinogen’s CEO Dr Bill Ketelbey is hoping to bring good news to those carers and their families.

“We’re delighted with how our trial is progressing so far and our research sites continue to report a pleasing rate of patient enrolment ,” Dr Ketelbey said.

“The study is on target to complete enrolment before the end of the year, and to produce top-line results around April/May next year.”

Actinogen’s XanADu phase II trial of its Xanamem treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

A novel approach to treating Alzheimer’s

Actinogen’s (ASX:ACW) novel approach to Alzheimer’s treatment is designed to inhibit production of the naturally occurring stress hormone, cortisol, in the brain.

The weight of research on the disease is increasingly swinging in the company’s direction. A number of studies have demonstrated that persistently raised cortisol is associated with the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Two recent studies, published in Nature and Psychoneuroendocrinology, indicate that exposure to a period of stress in mid-life can result in cognitive decline in old age.

“This study adds to the growing evidence that raised cortisol, even in mid-life, is toxic to the brain especially with aging,” said Prof Jonathan Seckl from the University of Edinburgh, one of the inventors of Xanamem and an author of the Psychoneuroendocrinology paper.

“It highlights the importance of developing effective treatments that decrease the impact of excess cortisol on the brain as a potential way of slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Most developments in Alzheimer’s treatment are centred on fixing the build-up of an abnormal protein (beta amyloids) in the brain – but recent studies show this may not be the answer, or only part of it.

Dr Robert Riesenberg, who manages XanADu recruitment at the Atlanta Center for Medical Research, believes Xanamem has advantages over other Alzheimer’s treatments that target protein fragments called amyloids.

“We’re excited about the potential for Xanamem in Alzheimer’s disease, particularly as it’s not targeting amyloid,” Dr Riesenberg said.

“So many amyloid-related drugs under development have seen unfavourable outcomes in recent years, so it’s particularly encouraging, for us and our patients, to be trialling a drug with a novel mechanism of action”.

And new developments in the sector are long-awaited.

The leading drug used by patients, Aricept, was developed 25 years ago and no new drug has been approved for the disease in over 15 years.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a progressively debilitating disease that currently has no effective long-term treatment. New effective therapies are urgently needed, and our hope is the we soon be able to demonstrate the Xanamem is one of them,” Dr Ketelbey said.

 

This special report is brought to you by Actinogen Medical.

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