Of the top ten fatal illnesses, Alzheimer’s disease remains the only one that cannot be prevented, treated or cured. None of the current treatment options provide much more than short-term relief of dementia symptoms, and significantly, none can slow the progression of the disease. Alzheimer’s disease sufferers desperately need new alternative treatment options, and ideally, drugs with the potential to reverse the decline in brain function or to slow disease progression.
Alzheimer’s disease develops years before the symptoms of dementia appear. It is likely that brain pathology begins up to 15 years before the appearance of mild cognitive impairment or clinical dementia. Earlier diagnosis and treatment is therefore a vital hurdle to overcome before we see a significant reduction in the burden of this disease.
While no single clear cause for the development of Alzheimer’s disease has been reported, there is strong evidence to support an association between excess cortisol – the “stress hormone”- and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Excess cortisol has been shown to cause cognitive decline, lead to β-amyloid plaque deposition and neurotoxicity in the brain, and loss of brain volume, all hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
Actinogen Medical’s drug candidate Xanamem has been specifically designed to inhibit the production of cortisol in the brain by blocking the activity of a specific enzyme, 11β-HSD1. Blocking this enzyme prevents conversion of the inactive cortisone into the active cortisol.