Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive disease that affects memory and makes up an estimated 60-80% of dementia cases. It is estimated to afflict over 6 million people in the US alone and is growing rapidly as our population ages. Our brain contains approximately 100 billion nerve cells (neurons) which utilize a high amount of fuel and oxygen to function properly. In patients with Alzheimer’s disease plaques (a protein called amyloid-beta) and tangles (twisted fibers of a protein called tau) increase in prevalence. It is believed these plaques and tangles interrupt neurons from functioning properly and communicating with each other.
Recently a drug, Aducanumab (Aduhelm), was approved for early-onset Alzheimer’s, but, unfortunately was not reimbursed. Aduhelm is an antibody that targets amyloid-beta plaque and has demonstrated efficacy in reducing its concentration. Investigation continues on using antibodies targeting both amyloid and tau proteins to reduce the drivers of progressive Alzheimer’s disease. Importantly, antibodies are large and often unable to effectively penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The Cordance team is investigating to see if opening the BBB temporarily can improve the delivery and dosage of the amyloid and tau antibodies.
Additionally, the ability to accurately diagnose and monitor Alzheimer’s hampers our ability to manage the disease and better develop therapeutic agents.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease please see the National Institute of Aging-Alzheimer’s Disease.