Is a new breakthrough in Alzheimer’s treatment near? That’s the hope of researchers at TauRx Pharmaceuticals testing of a promising Alzheimer’s medication called LMTX. LMTX is a second-generation tau aggregation inhibitor, or TAI, that blocks the accumulation of tau fibers in the brain to slow or perhaps stop the progression of Alzheimer’s; it is also believed it can target affected areas of the brain in order to restore lost memories. LMTX is nearing the end of Phase 3 clinical trials.
What is Tau?
Tau is a protein found in the brain and in nerve cells that acts as a microtubule stabilizer through isoforms and phosphorylation. When tau proteins undergo hyper-phosphorylation and malfunction, they no longer remove toxic or wanted proteins from cells, which then develop into twisted neurofibrillary tangles that clog regions of the brain, including those vital to memory.
Alzheimer’s Tau Protein Diagram
The promise of LMTX
Results from trials of an earlier iteration of LMTX, rember® suggested a slowing of the progression of Alzheimer’s in those studied. LMTX is a newer version of the drug methylthioninium, which works on pre-tangle aggregates and dissolves existing protein tangles. Results are expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year.
Skepticism over TAIs
Before the development of the tau aggregator inhibitor hypothesis and subsequent testing, studies of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease centered on another type of protein, amyloid beta. In this instance, malfunctioning tau caused neurons to eliminate amyloid beta, sending it into spaces between brain cells where these proteins would adhere to one another and form plaques. However, tau is still the connective tissue in these theories, indicating that the tau hypothesis is being addressed from different angles.
What is next for LMTX?
If the data gathered from the current LMTX clinical trial holds true, following approval from the FDA, a twice-daily medication could be on the market by early next year. If this is the case, it is believed that it will be prescribed to everyone over the age of 60 as a preventive measure, regardless of whether there are indications of dementia or not. While it is recommended that hopes be tempered regarding the development of a curative magic bullet, supporters argue that even slowing the progression of the disease will allow those with Alzheimer’s to enjoy an improved and sustained quality of life.