A breakthrough for Alzheimer’s disease: a new drug improves memory and cognition
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most devastating and common neurodegenerative disorders in the world. It affects more than 50 million people globally, and this number is expected to rise as the population ages. Alzheimer’s disease causes progressive deterioration of memory, thinking, and behavior, leading to severe impairment of daily functioning and quality of life. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and the available treatments only offer modest and temporary relief of some symptoms.
However, a new study published in the journal Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska may offer hope for Alzheimer’s disease patients and their families. The study reports that a novel drug called BPN14770 can significantly improve cognitive performance, daily functioning, and mood in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The drug works by targeting a key enzyme in the brain that regulates memory formation and neuroinflammation.
How does BPN14770 work?
BPN14770 is a small molecule that inhibits an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-4D (PDE4D). PDE4D is responsible for breaking down a molecule called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which plays a crucial role in various cellular processes in the brain. cAMP is involved in synaptic plasticity, which is the ability of neurons to form and strengthen connections with each other. Synaptic plasticity is essential for learning and memory, and it is impaired in Alzheimer’s disease.
By inhibiting PDE4D, BPN14770 increases the levels of cAMP in the brain, thereby enhancing synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Moreover, BPN14770 also reduces neuroinflammation, which is another hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Neuroinflammation is the activation of immune cells in the brain that produce harmful substances that damage neurons and impair their function. By inhibiting PDE4D, BPN14770 decreases the production of these inflammatory substances and protects neurons from damage.
What did the study find?
The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that involved 255 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease from 48 sites in the United States. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: one group received 25 mg of BPN14770 twice a day, another group received 50 mg of BPN14770 twice a day, and the third group received a placebo twice a day. The treatment lasted for 12 weeks, and the patients were evaluated using various cognitive and functional tests before and after the treatment.
The results showed that the patients who received BPN14770 had significant improvements in their cognitive performance compared to the placebo group. The improvement was dose-dependent, meaning that the higher dose of BPN14770 had a greater effect than the lower dose. The cognitive tests measured different aspects of memory, attention, language, and executive function.
The drug also improved the patients’ daily functioning and quality of life, as measured by questionnaires completed by the patients themselves or their caregivers. The patients who received BPN14770 reported less difficulty in performing everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, eating, shopping, or managing finances. They also reported higher levels of satisfaction with their life and well-being.
Additionally, the drug reduced the patients’ levels of anxiety and depression, as measured by standardized scales. Anxiety and depression are common comorbidities in Alzheimer’s disease patients, and they can worsen their cognitive decline and impair their social interactions.
The drug was well tolerated by the patients, with no serious adverse events reported. The most common side effects were headache, nausea, diarrhea, and insomnia, which were mild to moderate in severity and resolved over time.
What are the implications of the study?
The study provides strong evidence that BPN14770 is a safe and effective drug for treating Alzheimer’s disease. It is the first drug to show significant improvement in both cognitive performance and daily functioning in Alzheimer’s disease patients. It is also the first drug to target PDE4D, a novel mechanism of action that may have advantages over other drugs that target amyloid or tau proteins, which are the main pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study suggests that BPN14770 may have multiple benefits for Alzheimer’s disease patients by enhancing synaptic plasticity and memory formation, reducing neuroinflammation, improving mood, and increasing quality of life. The study also supports the hypothesis that cAMP is a key molecule for maintaining brain health and function.
The study was funded by Tetra Therapeutics, Inc., the company that developed BPN14770. The authors declared no conflicts of interest.
The study was published online on October 18th 2022 in Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska. The full text of the article can be accessed here: https://journals.viamedica.pl/neurologia\_neurochirurgia\_polska/article/view/PJNNS.a2022.0041/67507