The experimental drug, Gantenerumab, shows promise for early Alzheimer's patients.
(Reuters) - An experimental drug being developed by Roche Holding AG removed amyloid plaques from the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients in a small early-stage study, according to data published in the Archives of Neurology, the Swiss drugmaker said on Monday.
Many researchers suspect the build-up of such plaques may be a cause of the memory robbing disease, although that theory has yet to be definitively proved.
The next step will be to investigate whether removal of brain amyloid translates into clinical benefit for patients at doses of the experimental drug, gantenerumab, that are well tolerated and safe, Roche said.
Gantenerumab, a biotech drug designed to bind to amyloid plaques in the brain and remove them, is being targeted at the early stages of Alzheimer's with the hope it can slow progression of the disease while patients are still able to function.
The Phase I study of 16 Alzheimer's patients tested gantenerumab at two doses against a placebo over six months of treatment.
The Roche drug led to a dose-dependent reduction of brain amyloid, while amyloid load increased in patients receiving a placebo, the company said.