At Vaccinex, Inc. in Rochester researchers have developed a drug so promising it may be a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
The drug is an experimental antibody called pepinemab. In an ongoing study on Huntington’s disease, Vaccinex found that pepinemab reduces inflammation and prevents energy loss in the brain. A new study will see if it shows the same results for Alzheimer’s. Since energy in the brain is known to decline as Alzheimer’s progresses, this drug could be a game-changer. We asked Vaccinex founder and CEO what would be the best outcome of the study. “To prevent cognitive decline,” says Maurice Zauderer. “If you talk to patients, they tell us what is most impactful on them and their lives are the cognitive effects of the neurodegenerative disease.”
The study is being funded with a $750,000 grant from the Alzheimer’s Association, with backing from billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates. Their Part the Cloud program is designed to fast track research with the highest probability of slowing—and curing— Alzheimer’s.
“It’s important to us for two reasons,” says Zauderer. “Because they share are our hopes and enthusiasm for this drug. And they made a material contribution for facilitating this study. So the Alzheimer’s Association and the many people who support the Alzheimer’s Association are very important to us.”
Right now, the only treatment for Alzheimer’s involves managing symptoms. Vaccinex hopes its new drug will do more by stopping the disease in its tracks. The first clinical trial of pepinemab begins next year.