Illustration of amyloid plaques amongst neurons and neurofibrillary tangles inside neurons. Amyloid plaques are characteristic features of Alzheimer's disease. They lead to degeneration of the affected neurons, which are destroyed through the activity of microglia cells. Photo Credit: Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty ImagesHealth USA
World-First Virtual Trial for Alzheimer’s Treatment
A computer model was used to complete the world’s first virtual clinical trial – using data from actual patients to simulate health outcomes – to test two Alzheimer’s drugs, and to develop personalized treatment regimens, in a first-of-its-kind method to help fix this growing public health issue.
Through the model, treatments can be personalized virtually for individual patients, meaning that potential side effects like brain swelling and vision problems can be avoided. Personalized medicine will play a crucial role in the disease’s treatment.
“Our objective was to minimize cognitive decline while also minimizing the treatment dosage to limit the corresponding side effects,” says study’s co-author Dr Suzanne Lenhart, of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “Our model will give the optimal treatment level over time of the drug, but maybe even more importantly, it provides the optimal personalized treatment plan for each patient.”
Aducanumad was approved as the first new Alzheimer’s drug in 18 years, and it was compared to donanemad, a promising drug currently evaluated. Both drugs are set to remove plaques of beta-amyloid protein that build up in the brains of patients. Clinical and biomarker data were used to create a mathematical model to predict disease trajectory in patients. Doses were identical to the ones used in human trials. For medium-term follow-up, the trial period has been set to 78 weeks and for long-term follow-up, 10 years.