Future Trends In Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Medicines

"Doggie dementia" "Doggie Alzheimer's"

 

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NeuroCare™?

 

 

Ron Hines DVM PhD

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This little fellow, is - as it looks - mostly a mouse. But it is also part human because two human genes have been inserted into all of its cells to make it particularly susceptible to early Alzheimer's disease. It is the B6C3-Tg(APPswe,PSEN1dE9)85Dbo/Mmjax transgenic mouse (ref)

You probably already know that Alzheimer's disease in humans and canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome in dogs appear to have similar causes. Scientists now think that cause is a build up of misfolded proteins called amyloid beta ( or Abeta) (ref) perhaps augmented (assisted) by other defective (tau) proteins. (ref)

Here in America, a lot of money is spent in the search for a human cure or, more likely, a way to stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease ($586 million government dollars in the US alone in 2015 and over a billion in private money spent in Alzheimer drug research).

In looking for drugs that might halt or cure this disease, most researcher rely on the little mouse at the top of this page. Two avenues were tried: vaccinating the mice against Aβ and custom-designing an artificial antibody that would destroy Aβ. (ref) [ These artificial antibodies are called mAbs and their names tend to end in the letters mab - like Remicade (infliximab) and Humira (adalimumab) for Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis.]

The vaccination trials ended in failure but the mAbs seemed to hold promise. (ref1, ref2) Biogen and Eli Lilly began human trials on two forms of the drug in 2013. Initial results released in March, 2015 were favorable. However, by July, what had been hoped to be the most effective dose did not live up to expectations.

I had thought that the high cost of mAb medications would prevent us from using them in our dogs and cats. (in humans in 2015, $12,000- $15,000 per year for remicade) I was wrong, on August 3 ,2015, Zoetis/Pfizer, the same company that manufactures the dog anti-itch medication, Apoquel, announced trial studies of a mAb designed especially for allergic dogs. You can read their press release here.

You can follow the stock prices of the companies that are looking for human Alzheimer medications or check the Alzheimer's Foundation website from time to time. If and when such a drug is discovered, it - or a modified form - should hold promise for your elderly dog as well.