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Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Memory loss and behavioral symptoms get progressively worse until patients lose the ability to perform basic daily tasks and become completely dependent on full-time care. This dependence on full-time, long-term care makes it the 3rd most expensive disease to treat, costing the US healthcare system approximately $355 billion per year.
Finding a treatment that can stop cognitive decline and help patients retain the ability to live independently would not only improve their quality of life but significantly reduce the financial burden of the disease by reducing the amount of care needed. It is this urgent need for safe, effective treatments for Alzheimer’s and other diseases that drives the researchers at Alpha Cognition (OCTMKTS: ACOGF), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. Here are some of the groundbreaking treatments the company is working on.
Alpha-1062 Could Become A Best In Class Treatment Option for Patients Suffering from Alzheimer's Disease
One of the most common treatments available for Alzheimer’s disease today is galantamine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI). Studies confirm that long-term use of galantamine slows down the progression of the disease and improves a patient’s likelihood of being able to continue living independently.
In an April 2021 Neurology publication, 39,196 Alzheimer/Mixed Dementia patients were evaluated for 10 years. They found that patients taking any AChEI had significantly better outcomes than those who did not. AChEI-treated patients had a 27% reduced risk of death. For patients taking galantamine, the risk of death was reduced by 29%.
Galantamine also outperformed other AChEIs in other areas measured in this study. While donepezil and rivastigmine, the other 2 AChEIs studied, showed no statistically significant effects on preventing severe dementia or cognitive decline, galantamine had a meaningful impact in these areas. It reduced the risk of developing severe dementia by 31% and had the strongest impact on cognitive decline.
Unfortunately, these powerful results come with known adverse effects of AChEIs including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other side effects that make it unpleasant and impractical to continue taking the drug for extended periods of time. Moreover, at the higher doses required to get the full benefits of the treatment, these gastrointestinal (GI) side effects become even more distressing.
This is where Alpha-1062 comes in. “We sought out a way to get the benefits of galantamine without the side effects. That is Alpha-1062” said Dr. Fred Sancilio, President and Director of Alpha Cognition during the company’s recent R&D virtual webinar.
ALPHA-1062 is a pro-drug of galantamine that essentially delays the metabolization of the drug until it reaches the small intestine where it can pass through to the liver without triggering GI distress.
Exploratory studies completed by Alpha Cognition this year confirm Alpha-1062 significantly reduces, and in many cases, completely eliminates GI distress while also improving the bioavailability of galantamine by up to 15%. Pivotal trials are expected to begin in the 2nd half of the year, and the company hopes to have the enteric coated tablet formulation approved and available for patients in 2023.
Alpha-1062 As a Brain Injury Treatment
In addition to its potential in treating Alzheimer’s disease, Alpha Cognition is also studying a nasal formulation of Alpha-1062 as a potential treatment for traumatic brain injuries like concussion.
Currently in preclinical trials, early data indicates that the nasal spray has a high absorption rate and can improve brain inflammation, a marker of traumatic brain injury. The results showing its ability to heal brain trauma are expected in 2022. With no known treatment for concussions or other brain injuries to date, these 2022 results could be the breakthrough doctors have been waiting for.
A Life-Saving Gene Therapy Treatment for ALS
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that disrupts brain signals to the muscles and leads to weakness in the limbs, difficulty walking and, as it worsens, difficulty swallowing or controlling movements. Over 5,000 people each year are diagnosed with the debilitating disease, and there is currently no known cure.
To help those patients, Alpha-0602, another drug in Alpha Cognition’s pipeline, delivers progranulin to the body. Progranulin is a protein responsible for regulating cell growth, survival and repair. In ALS patients, progranulin levels are low, which leads to the degeneration of cells in the brain. By restoring progranulin levels, Alpha-0602 could improve cell signaling and reduce inflammation, which would minimize the movement and functional difficulties associated with ALS.
Preclinical research of the progranulin delivery system as a potential treatment for ALS is in progress, and results are expected by the first half of 2022.
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