Updated on 10 September 2012
Study drug LMTX has the potential to arrest the progression of Frontotemporal Dementia
Singapore: TauRx Therapeutics, which is headquartered in Singapore, has initiated a global phase III clinical trial in a type of Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) also known as Pick's Disease. This form of dementia is similar to Alzheimer's Disease, except that it tends to damage different areas of the brain and affects people as early as 40 years old.
The study focuses on a type of FTD known as behavioral-variant, or bvFTD, which can cause early changes in personality and loss of empathy. A large percentage of these patients have a specific pathology that involves abnormal collections of tau protein in the brain.
The study drug, LMTX, targets a process in the brain whereby a normal form of tau protein begins to self-aggregate due to binding neuronal waste-products. Once the process has started, the aggregates are able to propagate themselves indefinitely, using up normal tau protein and converting it into the toxic aggregates. After destroying the nerve cells where they are initially formed, the aggregates go on to infect nearby healthy neurons, progressively spreading and accelerating the destruction throughout the brain. LMTX stops this aggregation process in its tracks and releases the trapped tau protein in a form which can be easily cleared by nerve cells.
If successful, this will be the first investigational drug that is able to arrest the progression of this disease. TauRx Therapeutics, spun out of the University of Aberdeen, developed the novel treatment based on an entirely new approach which targets aggregates of abnormal fibres of tau protein that form inside nerve cells in the brain.
In a pilot series of cases, LMTX was found to arrest the progression of the disease. LMTX has been found to act in a similar way on the aggregation of TDP-43 protein. Tau or TDP-43 aggregates each account for about 50 percent of patients with this early form of dementia.