Jan 29, 2010

Rember It's Back, or Is It?

Rember is supposedly a new version of an existing chemical substance, methylene blue (MTC), but modified to be used as a drug for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s.....
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Rember blasted on to the Alzheimer's scene in 2008. No news and not a single press release from the company since July 2008. Not until today.

The Express.co.uk is reporting that Taurx is seeking 80 million pounds to fund huge clinical trials in the U.S. and U.K. The article basically regurgitates the same information and sensational claims that were first made in July, 2008.

TauRx Therapeutics was the big hit at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD) in 2008. They reported on an amazing new experiment Alzheimer's drug -- rember.

The news release direct from ICAD created a tidal wave of press and news on television when the company made this claim:
New research findings point to a new treatment that appears to slow the progress of Alzheimer's by 81% over a year. The product - rember - is the first drug to act to arrest the progression of Alzheimer's disease by targeting the tangles which are highly correlated with the disease.
With the imprimatur of the Alzheimer's Association, experts hailing the study as a major development in the fight against Alzheimer's, and the lead scientist Dr. Claude Wischik of the University of Aberdeen raving, one could have concluded that a cure for Alzheimer's was possible.
“We have demonstrated for the first time that it may be possible to arrest progression of the disease by targeting the tangles which are highly correlated with the disease,” Professor Wischik said. “This is the most significant development in the treatment of the tangles since Alois Alzheimer discovered them in 1907.”

And then, the story died. Not a single story or piece of information that the experimental drug testing was moving forward.

A quick check of the TauRx website will yield nothing. It appears that the last time the site was updated was on July 30, 2008. The date of the announcement. The site itself was thrown up in haste and is less than impressive.

A search on the Alzheimer's Association website yields nothing new since July 30, 2008. In fact the link to the ICAD press release is broken, no longer available.

As an x-Wall Street venture capitalist I have been wondering for some time why didn't this company receive immediate financing for a phase 3 clinical trial?

One reason could be because there has never been a sentence published about rember in a scientific journal.

Another reason that comes to mind could be that the drug is a supposed new formulation of an existing chemical substance methylene blue. Among other ailments MTC has been used in the past to treat urinary tract infections and other conditions. Could a new formulation of something that has been around for 30 years actually be patented? Stranger things have happened, so I'll leave that one to the attorney's.

I did consider getting the compound manufactured and trying it on my mother. After all the suggested dosage is now in the public domain -- 20 mg, three times a day.

A word of warning here, it turns your pee blue. This lead to one interesting comment I read. The writer speculated, how do you run a double blind clinical trial if your pee turns blue. Did the placebo also turn the urine of the control group blue? If not, it would be pretty easy to know if you were receiving the drug or the placebo.

I cannot find any evidence that TauRx has been granted approval by the FDA to conduct a Phase 3 clinical trial. Impossible to raise capital under those circumstances.

One has to wonder if the Alzheimer's Association performed any due diligence prior to accepting the paper for ICAD 2008. After all, it was the Alzheimer's Association acceptance of the science and press release that triggered the news frenzy that followed.

Perhaps they can inform us of the current state of affairs, and why the clinical trials are not moving forward.

Rember was heralded as a possible cure for Alzheimer's.

Professor Wischik has been working on this for 26 years, his words.

Medpage Today did run an excellent report on rember and the claims of the scientist back in July, 2008.

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Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized Influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community Worldwide. The Alzheimer's Reading Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles, and the ARR has more than 343,000 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
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