UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Trial: An Opportunity to Prevent Dementia

16 July 2014

UCLH is part of a worldwide clinical study evaluating two drugs to determine whether they can prevent Alzheimer’s disease in people at-risk for an inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Dementia Research Centre, in conjunction with the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (LWENC) Clinical Facility based at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, is the only site in the UK conducting the multi-site, international Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Trial (DIAN-TU-001) sponsored by Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, Missouri, USA) in collaboration with Eli Lilly and Co. and F. Hoffmann-La Roche.

The study aims to enrol 210 participants worldwide. Participants will be individuals who have or may have inherited a gene mutation that causes early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Although the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not fully understood, research suggests that the presence of beta amyloid in the brain plays a significant role in causing symptoms such as memory loss and confusion. Recent research studies, also conducted at the Dementia Research Centre, in collaboration with Washington University, have shown that beta amyloid may begin to accumulate in the brain 10-15 years before the onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

It is important for researchers to study potential medicines in people who have inherited mutations causing Alzheimer’s at a young age, typically in their 30s, 40s or 50s, and before they have developed the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or are mildly affected to determine whether the drugs can improve Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers and effectively prevent the loss of cognitive function. All study participants will be within 10 to 15 years of the anticipated age when symptoms of cognitive decline and dementia are expected to appear.

In this study, two drugs will be tested, and compared with a placebo. Each drug has a different approach to counter the toxic effects of beta amyloid, the main constituent of brain plaques found in Alzheimer’s patients. Each investigational drug also has passed earlier clinical trials that evaluated safety of the drugs and whether they engaged their targets in patients.

The study will run for at least two years and to determine whether the study drug has an effect, participants will undertake a range of tests that include memory and thinking tests and measurements to monitor the brain and amyloid protein levels.

If a drug is found successful in individuals with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease mutations, we may be able to learn more about how to help treat and even prevent sporadic Alzheimer’s disease, which affects 800,000 in the UK.

Contact details for queries:

Dr Cath Mummery
DRC Clinical Trials lead in Dementia
Associate clinical director NHNN

Dr Rajeshree Khengar
Clinical Projects Lead/Senior Operational Manager

Dr Vincenzo Libri
Head of Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre