On September 18th of this year the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative’s Generation Program (Novartis & Amgen with the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute) announced that they have stopped the BACE inhibitor drug study because of unexpected drops in memory and thinking of it’s study participants. When the group got word that this negative effect was happening, they looked at the data coming in from various study venues to verify that outcome. Once confirmed, they stopped the study cold.
The BACE inhibitor stands for Beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 inhibitor. It was supposed to block the enzyme that produces the amyloid plaques felt to be the reason for the neuron death in AD. There were a number of BACE inhibitors being tested by various pharmaceutical companies, and a lot of hope was placed in these trials.
This was a big blow to scientists and the hundreds of APOE4 carrying people that were part of the study group. Scientists will continue to study why the drug is causing a decrease in memory and thinking when it was expected to do the opposite. When they have a new way to approach the disease they will already have the largest cohort of people possessing the APOE4 gene at their disposal to enroll in a new study when the timing is right.
This disease is so complex. Those of us carrying the gene in our families have had our hopes dashed again, and many of us are running out of time for an effective treatment to do any good. My husband found out that he had two copies of the APOE4 gene in 1997 when he was 50 years old. Jim died of the disease in 2011 when he was 64 ….. and now it is 2019! That’s 22 years without a breakthrough. So devastating for all of us!