Novo Nordisk participates with a diabetes drug in a trial for Alzheimer
Novo Nordisk is involved in a clinical trial using the company’s GLP-1 analogue diabetes drug Victoza to evaluate if the drug can improve brain function and cognition in Alzheimer’s patients, BioSpace.com reports.
It is a Phase IIb clinical trial. In laboratory studies, it has been shown to improve Alzheimer’s symptoms and decrease the amount of amyloid plaques in the brain, which are associated with the disease.
In an update on the trial site, it was noted that patients receiving the drug had a perceived change in their symptoms after they stopped taking it. As a result, at the end of the 12-month trial, all patients will be offered the opportunity to join a 12-month open-label extension trial.
The Danish company specializes in the diabetes market. The company appears to be making an entry into the Alzheimer’s market, which isn’t as unusual or unexpected as it initially sounds.
A double-blind study in the UK
The trial of Victoza by the Imperial College London will enroll 204 patients with mild Alzheimer’s dementia and is a double-blind, placebo-controlled design that will last 12 months. Its primary endpoint is measuring rates of glucose metabolism in the brain. Secondary endpoints will look at various measures of cognition, including Adas, CDR-sum of boxes and ADSC-ADL.
Novo Nordisk shares recently popped, and Evaluate Pharma speculates that this was related to the company’s participation in the trial after the Danish newspaper Børsen made the link. They also cited a recent note by analysts at Bernstein titled “Is Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes?” suggesting a role for GLP-1 drugs.
Is Alzheimer's Type 3 Diabetes?
It has been postulated for some time that Alzheimer’s disease is related to blood glucose levels and has been dubbed type 3 diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, sometimes referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 2 is typically acquired and appears more related to insulin resistance and is related to obesity.
About 50% of Alzheimer’s cases are associated to APOE4 according to the study, which was published in the journal Neuron. And people with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease, although the reasons for it are not completely clear. In fact, type 2 diabetes almost doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. One possible reason is reduced blood flow to the brain because of damage to blood vessels caused by diabetes.