The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) has announced that it raised more than US$1.1 million in support of a clinical trial to test an existing drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The US$1.1 million was generated during the “Fund a Scientist” auction at its Eighth Annual Connoisseur’s Dinner on May 1, 2014, and awarded to Jeffrey Cummings, director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada and Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Cummings will investigate rasagiline, an FDA-approved treatment for Parkinson’s disease with the potential to be the first drug to slow the course of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Repurposing is an exciting approach because we can study drugs that are already approved by the FDA for use by physicians to treat other diseases. The results of this study may provide physicians on the frontlines of Alzheimer’s treatment with new and critical evidence to inform the treatment and care of their patients,” says Howard Fillit, executive director and chief science officer, ADDF.
Previous research has shown that rasagiline could be a viable therapeutic option for people with Alzheimer’s disease. It has already proven safe and effective in Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative illness similar to Alzheimer’s disease in many ways.
“Rasagiline has neuroprotective properties, offering a novel approach to Alzheimer’s drug therapy,” says Fillit. “Currently, most Alzheimer’s drug research targets beta-amyloid, a protein found in the brain of individuals with Alzheimer’s.”
Results of Cummings’ study, which was designed in collaboration with the ADDF’s team of neuroscientists, may be available in as little as two years.
In total, the Eighth Annual Connoisseur’s Dinner raised over US$3.5 million to accelerate the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease.