Medical Express - Rejected Alzheimer's Drug Shows New Potential
Latrepirdine, known commercially as Dimebon, was initially sold as an antihistamine in Russia, approved for use there in 1983. The Phase II trials, performed in Russia, were overseen by U.S. Alzheimer's researchers, including Mary Sano, PhD, Director of the Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. However, when research was continued in the United States in a Phase III trial, the drug did not demonstrate any improvement in people with the disease, causing the sponsors to halt further clinical study of the drug in Alzheimer's disease. Before the failed trials were announced, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, led by Sam Gandy, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology, and Psychiatry, and Director of the Mount Sinai Center for Cognitive Health, began studying the mechanism of action behind latrepirdine in the current study, which is supported by the Cure Alzheimer's Fund. "When we learned that latrepirdine failed in patients in the United States in 2010, scientists around the world were disappointed and perplexed," Dr. Gandy said. "We wanted to find out why the drug did so well in Russia but then showed no effect in the global studies. The findings from our animal model studies indicated that this drug should not be discarded, and that, if its mechanism of action can be optimized, it still has potential."
- Dr. Mary Sano, Associate Dean for Clinical Research, Professor, Psychiatry, Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
- Dr. Sam Gandy, Professor, Neurology, Psychiatry, Associate Director of the Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
- Dr. Zhenyu Yue, Associate Professor, Neurology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
- Dr. Lenard Lachenmayer, Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
- Dr. John Steele, Graduate Student, Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine