Can We Expand Companion Diagnostics Beyond Oncology?

The majority of today’s approved companion (and complementary) diagnostics (CDx) support personalized medicine efforts in oncology, a testament to researchers’ growing knowledge regarding the genetic pathways impacted in various cancers. That understanding increases our ability to convert such knowledge of biology into treatments that specifically target disease based on a tumor’s genetic makeup. This has led to significantly improved outcomes for many patients.

But can we leverage the knowledge of the biology of other disease states along with the appropriate technical progress into successful CDx expansion beyond oncology? Given that nearly 50% of all compounds in clinical development are dropped for lack of efficacy, CDx may represent a viable approach to improve this statistic and boost the efficiency of drug development efforts. Promising clinical areas where CDx may play an important role include immunology, rare and orphan diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading

Harnessing Public Involvement for Faster, Lower Cost Trials in Dementia

neuroscience graphicThere should be no doubt that clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia need to be faster and more cost-effective if new treatments are to reach patients.

Public interest in participation in clinical trials for dementia is growing as governments become more vocal about the need to find treatments. A number of well-known organizations have well-established processes for linking patients with clinical trials. Alzheimer’s Association’s Trialmatch in the US and the United Kingdom’s Clinical Research Network (UKCRN) Study Portfolio allow patients to search for trials that they would like to participate in. In the case of dementia however, the disease may hinder a person’s ability to search for trials, potentially limiting access to experimental treatments. As research focuses more on prevention of Alzheimer’s it is important to include people interested in research who have no symptoms of memory loss. Continue reading

Examining Tau Phosphorylation as a Potential Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarker

tauWe are always on the lookout to apply the latest research to our work and contribute additional findings to the scientific community. This month we will present a poster studying the regulation of Tau phosphorylation at the upcoming 2013 Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego.

The interest in this research was first sparked at last year’s 2012 Alzheimer’s Association International conference in Vancouver, Canada, where we heard discussions on the effects of anesthesia on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients. Continue reading