Important news related to PCA happens frequently. The aim of the links provided is to help inform you of information in the news that is relevant to PCA and PCA-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Lewy Body Dementia.

December 7, 2019: What do we know so far regarding the drug Aducanumab for Alzheimer’s disease?

Biogen is the pharmaceutical company that launched two large trials to study how Aducanumab performs when treating people with Alzheimer’s disease dementia. Earlier in the year, they stopped the trials because preliminary analysis indicated that although the drug removes amyloid plaques in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s disease dementia, it did not slow the progression of dementia. Then, Biogen reanalyzed the data of those people who finished the trial and were on the drug at high doses for long periods of time (data that was not initially available at the time they stopped the trials). The group of patients on the high dose of the drug for 14 doses (about 600 people) showed 30% less decline in function over a period of 78 weeks. The degree of slower decline might not be detectable to any one individual or their family, care partners, or friends. However, it is a better result than any other has shown. There is still reason to be skeptical. Moving forward, the FDA will review all of the data from Biogen and decide whether the drug will be approved or not. Alternatively, the FDA could decide to approve the drug but further research would be necessary for it to remain on the market. We will stay tuned and keep you updated on the developments related to Aducanumab.

–Victoria S. Pelak, MD


News about the FDA’s action against companies making misleading and false claims about dietary supplements have long been anticipated and welcomed by many researchers and physicians who feel these companies can do a lot of harm with their marketing campaigns, particularly where Alzheimer’s disease is concerned. We know that there are no drugs or dietary supplement that can treat the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s disease and no dietary supplement has been shown to help the damage that Alzheimer’s causes or slow its relentless course. I applaud the FDA’s efforts to curb claims that certain dietary supplements can treat Alzheimer’s disease despite lack of data to back these statements up. Read more about it here in a news item put out by the journal The Lancet Neurology:

–Victoria S. Pelak, MD

December 2018: News regarding Alzheimer’s disease vaccine.  Recently, news about the use of an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) vaccine has been circulating and I would like to provide information about what the news is about to our PCA Support Group members and others who visit these pages. The journal of Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy published an article in November 2018 regarding animal research of an experimental vaccine for AD and the research was performed at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

The goal of the vaccine is to create an immune response to the proteins that accumulate in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, which include amyloid and tau. These proteins are not related to the protein in your diet. Instead, these proteins accumulate in the brain of people with AD disease and form the substances that pathologists look for when performing an autopsy to determine whether someone had AD.

The researchers at the University of Texas vaccinated a special breed of mice that carry the mouse-form of AD and found that immunization led to a “reduction” of aggregation and accumulation of both proteins (amyloid and tau). In addition, they found that there was no inflammation that occurred. In the past, a vaccination for AD was given to humans in a clinical trial and unfortunately, brain inflammation resulted and use of the vaccination had to be halted.

In addition to this study, others are also moving forward with ways to use immune-based treatments to help reduce the accumulation of abnormal proteins. Stay tuned for more information. The animal-based studies are the first step toward clinical trials, but for this particular study, the human trial could be several years away. Victoria Pelak, MD

November 27, 2018: UCHealth Today by Tyler Smith: A Brain Disease that Betrays the Eyes – Click Here

October 24, 2018: Rare Form of Alzheimer’s Affects What The Eyes See – CBS News Interview of Dr. Pelak & Robert Yetz: Click Here

October 2018: News from Alzheimer’s research clinical trials conference from October 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. Recent data from the very large and multi-centered IDEAS study, which assessed whether results from PET imaging of amyloid accumulation changes treatment plans and/or impacts costs of care. Read more about it here

Summer Internship Program for PCA Research.

October 24, 2018: Rare Form of Alzheimer’s Affects What The Eyes See – CBS News Interview of Dr. Pelak & Robert Yetz: Click Here

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Victoria Pelak, MD

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