„Repositioning“ of Approved Drugs for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Dementia

The drug treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease is currently only possible with three acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine) and the NMDA antagonist memantine. These substances lead to a symptomatic improvement of up to 12 months (according to the latest results even 24 months, see my post dated 13/12/2012). So-called disease-modifying therapies are unfortunately still not available. In fact, the pharmaceutical industry recently had suffered numerous partly bitter setbacks in clinical trials of such new therapies. Despite the enormous economic potential, which a new drug that slows the disease process would have, currently only a few substances are in clinical trials in phases II and III (compared to more than 1000 drugs against cancer) due to the high economic risk, which such research poses. Continue reading

Antibodies Against NMDA Receptors in Schizophrenia

A very exciting and potentially groundbreaking observation in patients with schizophrenia was just published by Johann Steiner and colleagues from the Department of Psychiatry (Chairman: Bernhard Bogerts) of the University of Magdeburg in JAMA Psychiatry (formerly Archives of General Psychiatry – online first on January 23, 2013). They found in 9.9% (n = 15) in a cohort of 121 patients with a schizophrenic disorder antibodies against NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors (Steiner et al., 2013). Such antibodies were found only in 0.4% of the 230 control subjects studied, Continue reading