Nav: Home

Cleveland Clinic releases fourth installment of Alzheimer's Disease Drug Pipeline Report

July 10, 2019

Cleveland Clinic's fourth annual analysis of Alzheimer's disease drug development found that the pipeline has grown in the number and variety of agents being tested over the past year, while highlighting several advances in the field including new clinical trial designs, more detailed criteria for making a research diagnosis, and an increased use of biological tests reflecting of the disease.

Based on the federal website, the paper, Alzheimer's disease drug development: pipeline 2019, is Cleveland Clinic's fourth review of Alzheimer's disease drug development and appears as a July featured article in Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Trials Interventions (TRCI), an open access journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

"Improvements to clinical trial design and new guidelines for a research diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease have allowed for accuracy in studies and precision in the staging of Alzheimer's disease, which are increasingly important in drug development," said Jeffrey Cummings, M.D., ScD, director emeritus of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, director of the Center for Neurodegeneration and Translational Neuroscience and research professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas department of Brain Health. "This progress is a result of key collaborations amongst stakeholders and has elevated us to an unprecedented stage of drug development. We've never seen more funding, more agents or more diversity in the pipeline."

At a time when scientists are now reexamining the role of therapies targeting amyloid, this year's pipeline shows a trend toward a more diverse approach in attacking Alzheimer's disease. These agents include, anti-tau, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, regenerative (stem cells) and metabolic interventions. Additional trends include a variety of approaches to deep brain stimulation as well as ribonucleic acid (RNA)-based therapies.

"It's been really disappointing to see these last couple of clinical trials fail. We were worried that this would have a devastating impact on Alzheimer's drug development, but when we surveyed the landscape, we were encouraged to see more, not fewer agents being developed," said Aaron Ritter, M.D., director of clinical trials at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. "Every drug failure is an opportunity for learning, and it is our hope that through this paper, the public will see the importance of clinical trial participation. The bottom line is that as the pipeline grows, so does the number of people needed to test these medications."

Drs. Cummings and Ritter, along with fellow authors Garam Lee, Pharma.D., a clinical research pharmacist at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health; Marwan Sabbagh, M.D., director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health; and Kate Zhong, M.D., CEO of CNS Innovations examined all clinical trials from 2018 to 2019 to uncover the diversity in the pipeline as well as innovations utilized in current trials such as designs, outcomes, populations and biomarkers.

The authors note that several new clinical trial designs - including futility analyses and adaptive trial designs, as seen in the development of cancer and diabetes medications - increase the speed and sophistication of conducting Alzheimer's disease clinical trials. Another important trend in the field is a move toward testing medications in people either minimally effected or even before the onset of symptoms.

Several Alzheimer's prevention studies enrolling people based on their genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's disease are now being conducted. Moving forward, the authors' specific areas of interest include repurposed agents, immunotherapies, and novel mechanisms of action (MOA).
For additional information about Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, visit For additional information about Cleveland Clinic Center for Neurological Restoration, visit

About Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health:

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health provides expert diagnosis and treatment for individuals and families living with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases; multiple sclerosis; frontotemporal dementia and related disorders; and multiple system atrophy. The center offers a continuum of care with no-cost opportunities for the community to participate in education and research, including disease prevention studies and clinical trials of promising new medications. An integrated entity, Keep Memory Alive, raises funds exclusively in support of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, visit and

About Cleveland Clinic:

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation's best hospitals in its annual "America's Best Hospitals" survey. Among Cleveland Clinic's 66,000 employees are more than 4,200 salaried physicians and researchers and 16,600 nurses, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic's health system includes a 165-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 11 regional hospitals in northeast Ohio, more than 180 northern Ohio outpatient locations - including 18 full-service family health centers and three health and wellness centers - and locations in southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nev.; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2018, there were 7.9 million total outpatient visits, 238,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 220,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic's health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at Follow us at and News and resources available at

Editor's Note: Cleveland Clinic News Service is available to provide broadcast-quality interviews and B-roll upon request.

Cleveland Clinic

Related Clinical Trials Articles:

Giving children a voice in clinical trials
Children as young as 8 years old with incurable cancer can reliably characterize the impact an experimental therapy has on their symptoms and quality of life -- even at the earliest stages of drug development -- making self-reported patient outcomes a potential new clinical trial endpoint.
Better health for women involved in clinical trials
Women who participate in obstetric and gynecology clinical trials experience improved health outcomes compared to those who are not involved in trials, according to research by Queen Mary University of London.
Final artificial pancreas clinical trials now open
Clinical trials are now enrolling to provide the final tests for a University of Virginia-developed artificial pancreas to automatically monitor and regulate blood-sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes.
Why the bar needs to be raised for human clinical trials
Standards for authorizing first-time trials of drugs in humans are lax, and should be strengthened in several ways, McGill University researchers argue in a paper published today in Nature.
New drug formulary will help expedite use of agents in clinical trials
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) today launched a new drug formulary (the 'NCI Formulary') that will enable investigators at NCI-designated Cancer Centers to have quicker access to approved and investigational agents for use in preclinical studies and cancer clinical trials.
Review examines diversity in dermatology clinical trials
Racial and ethnic groups can be underrepresented in medical research.
Reshaping the future of global clinical trials practice
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have developed a new international guideline to help standardize how results from clinical trial studies are reported.
Fewer cardiovascular drugs being studied in clinical trials
The number of cardiovascular drugs in the research pipeline has declined across all phases of development in the last 20 years even as cardiovascular disease has become the No.
Sex hormones skew outcomes in clinical trials -- here's how
Clinical research often excludes females from their trials under the assumption that 'one size fits all,' that a painkiller or antidepressant will be equally effective in subjects of either sex, but a growing number of scientists are criticizing this approach.
Nearly half of pediatric clinical trials go unfinished or unpublished
Clinical trials in children commonly go either uncompleted or unpublished, finds a comprehensive study conducted by researchers at Boston Children's Hospital.

Related Clinical Trials Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...