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In Alzheimer’s Treatment Emerging Innovative Drug Delivery Method Shows Promise

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A groundbreaking study by US researchers has unveiled a novel drug delivery method that combines ultrasound with biological treatment, showing significant promise in reducing brain amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s patients. This first-in-human study represents a major advancement in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, detailed in a publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, presents a pioneering approach using focused ultrasound in conjunction with anti-amyloid-beta monoclonal antibody treatment. This method aims to expedite the clearance of amyloid-beta plaques in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers utilized a focused ultrasound system that can safely and temporarily open the blood-brain barrier, allowing increased access of the anti-amyloid-beta antibodies to specific regions of the brain.

Accelerating Amyloid-Beta Plaque Clearance in Alzheimer’s Research

One of the major hurdles in Alzheimer’s treatment has been the blood-brain barrier, which significantly limits the reach of therapeutic drugs to the brain. The researchers point out that over 98 percent of pharmaceuticals do not easily cross this barrier, necessitating systemic treatments that often require higher doses and more frequent administration. This study represents a breakthrough in overcoming this challenge.

The clinical trial involved three patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease. Each patient received six standard monthly infusions of aducanumab antibody. Following this, MRI-guided ultrasound treatment was administered using a helmet that targeted regions of the brain with high concentrations of amyloid-beta plaques.

The results were remarkable. “After six months of antibody treatment, we observed an average of 32 percent more reduction in amyloid-beta plaques in brain areas with blood-brain barrier opening compared to areas with no such opening,” said Dr. Ali Rezai, lead author of the study and executive chair of the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI). This significant finding suggests that focused ultrasound is a powerful tool for enhancing drug delivery to the brain.


Advancing Amyloid-Beta Removal with Ultrasound and Lecanemab Trials

Dr. Rezai also disclosed plans for the next phase of the clinical trial, set to begin within the year. This phase aims to explore ways to further accelerate the removal of amyloid-beta using focused ultrasound in combination with the lecanemab antibody. The potential of this method to shorten the treatment time while maintaining or increasing efficacy offers a new horizon in Alzheimer’s therapy.

This innovative approach signifies a paradigm shift in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. By combining the precision of ultrasound technology with the effectiveness of antibody treatment, the study opens up new possibilities for targeting and reducing amyloid plaques in the brain, a key factor in the progression of Alzheimer’s. The research team’s ability to safely breach the blood-brain barrier and deliver medication more effectively could revolutionize treatment protocols and improve outcomes for Alzheimer’s patients.


Resource: European Pharmaceutical Review, January 04, 2023

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