Leukaemia drug nilotinib shows promise against Alzheimer’s in small clinical study

pharmafile | May 29, 2020 | News story | Medical Communications Alzheimer's, leukaemia 

The leukemia drug nilotinib has shown promise in reducing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and while having safe and minimal side effects when administered in low doses.

This is according to the results of a small clinical trial published in the Annals of Neurology journal. The drug, known as Tasigna, appears to reverse some of the effects of the brain disease.

This study was a Phase II trial which included 37 people with mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s, who were given either a placebo or the drug daily for 12 months. Those who received nilotinib consumed a dose of 150 milligrams for 26 weeks, followed by 300 mg a day for another 26 weeks.

The results showed that the drug helps clear accumulated beta-amyloid plaques and Tau tangles in neurons in the brain, which are both signs of disease. Nilotinib appears to penetrate the blood brain barrier and activates the autophagy to rid the body of the Tau, beta-amyloid and other toxic proteins.

MRI scans of the study’s participants found that those treated with the drug experienced reduced beta-amyloid levels after being treated for the drug, while they also found fewer Tau tangles existed in the spinal fluid.

The dosage was also safe and well tolerated with some participants experiencing mood swings, agitation and irritation.

Dr. R. Scott Turner, director of Georgetown’s Memory Disorders Program, said: “This is the first oral treatment found to lower amyloid burden in the brain. Our study found that nilotinib is safe and well-tolerated, as we anticipated, and that it may have disease modifying benefits.”

Conor Kavanagh

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