The takeaway was that BIIB’s drug (aducanumab) is one of a class of drugs that break up and clear amyloid plaques which build up in Alzheimer’s patients.
I know very little about BIIB, but have some familiarity with Alzheimer’s due to family history. So, my ears are always open to news on research in this area.
Recently there have been some articles on new research pointing to the idea that amyloid plaque build-up is not the cause of loss of cognition or Alzheimer’s. So this could change an investment thesis for BIIB if a large part of their focus is on breaking up amyloid plaques.
New research has found that plaques are not the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease, but rather the protein tau, also known as “tangles.”
“For a very long time, we believed, for almost 100 years, that [amyloid-beta] plaques are the main culprit in Alzheimer’s disease,” the study’s senior investigator, Charbel E-H Moussa, MB, assistant professor of neuroscience at Georgetown University Medical Center, told FoxNews.com. “This study shows it’s another protein – a very, very important one, called tau, is basically the main guilty one.”
Researchers found that tau modulates how much amyloid protein stays inside a cell, and how much is secreted outside the cell to form plaque. This build-up is what leads to neuron death. The plaque that forms outside a cell are not toxic, as previously believed, they found.
An age-related brain disorder, Alzheimer’s gradually erodes a person’s memory, thinking, and behavior. Plaque made of beta-amyloid protein fragments and tangles formed from tau proteins are familiar hallmarks of disease in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Now, a new study alters prevailing theories of how the disease destroys brain cells. It is the tau, researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center say, and not the plaque that spurs neuron death in Alzheimer’s disease. Not only does this explain why some people with plaque build-up in their brains don’t have dementia, this new understanding may go a long way to developing proper drugs to treat patients.