I think it’s pronounced as “Bap pin neuz zu mab” but what is it? Well, it’s a drug that is an anti-amyloid agent. And what is an anti-amyloid agent? That’s an agent which targets beta-amyloid protein production. These proteins are the sticky plaques that form when soluble beta-amyloid changes shape to become fibrous and insoluble. These sticky plaques are believed responsible for Alzheimer’s disease, so breaking them up is believed helpful for the Alzheimer’s patient.
Curiously, yesterday, August 17, 2010, was the very day that the article, Amyloid Theory in Alzheimer’s Takes Another Hit, appeared. See the widget in the right column where this article is the first one listed.
The article states that negative clinical results have been found for three of the anti-amyloid agents, including bapineuzumab. However, preliminary PET scan data indicates that bapineuzumab does successfully break up amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s patients as it’s intended to do. This is good. However, clinical results on the patients to see whether they have in fact improved are not yet available.
So the verdict on bapineuzumab is far from out but the results on plaque breakup are apparently felt encouraging enough that a new clinical trial is being launched.
NOTE: There was a positive effect on a subgroup of patients who don’t carry the AD risk allele ApoE4. ApoE4 is a particular gene. Another name for it seems to be “apolipoprotein E-4 gene (APOE-4) allele” which I found in perusing the literature.
UPDATE: Here’s a New York Times article, Drug’s Failure Casts Doubt on a Tactic in Alzheimer’s Battle, based on the article I mention above, and it’s more pessimistic but it does not mention Beelzebub, whoops, I mean Bapineuzumab!
FURTHER UPDATE: Here’s a report on a clinical trial of bapineuzumab.
STILL FURTHER UPDATE: Here’s a pretty serious critique of the previous clinical trial of bapineuzumab.
JULY 25, 2012 UPDATE: Bapineuzumab Fails Phase 3 Clinical Trial.
August 8, 2012 UPDATE: Bapineuzumab trials discontinued…. the end