The purpose of most drugs that are in development and studies for Alzheimer’s is to prevent the disease from spreading; however, exciting research is being done with a new drug developed by EnVivo Pharmaceuticals: EVP-6124. This new drug’s aim is to not just halt, but improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
In the study, the new drug was tested on 409 patients, all of whom had mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. Though many of the patients were already taking donepezil or rivastigmine, a 2 milligram dose of EVP-6124 brought about a significant improvement in cognitive function at 23 weeks. Dr. Dana Hilt, chief medical officer of EnVivo Pharmaceuticals , says the data is “very encouraging”, and it is “statistically and clinically significant”.
There are several drugs currently undergoing studies in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, such as bapineuzumab and solanezumab, but ultimately, developers hope to see a halt in the progession of Alzheimer’s in patients, not necessarily an improvement in symptoms.
Dr. Jeffrey Cummings of the Cleveland Clinic stated recently what many caregivers feel about their loved ones. “My patients want to get better. They don’t just want to get worse more slowly.” Dr. Cummings explains that EnVivo’s drug works quite differently from many Alzheimer’s drugs currently on the market and in research. EVP-6124 works by targeting a nicotine receptor in the brain. This receptor is related to thinking ability and memory. The drug selectively targets part of the receptor, so that cognition can benefit without resulting in the effect that causes dependency.
“Every little bit of functionality we return moves patients closer to normal and gives them a higher quality of life,” says William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer at the Alzheimer’s Association. So what is next for development of this drug? Next year will begin ‘phase 3′ testing, a larger clinical trial, on EVP-6124.