Professor Claude Wischik
Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive, TauRx Pharmaceuticals
Professor Bjoern Schelter
CEO of GT Diagnostics and Chief Analytics Officer, TauRx Pharmaceuticals
Dr Sonya Miller
Head of Medical Affairs, TauRx Pharmaceuticals
Scientists and researchers are making big steps forward in dementia diagnosis and treatment. Their findings could positively impact the lives of people with the condition.
For Professor Claude Wischik — Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive of TauRx Pharmaceuticals, global leader in tau-based Alzheimer’s disease research — there is now hope for people living with dementia. “The question now is how long it will take to open the door, and we’ll work with regulators to achieve this.”
Digital breakthrough in dementia diagnosis
Two advances could revolutionise dementia diagnosis and treatment. First is the use of digital diagnostic tools to streamline the patient experience. Second is a new treatment, which can slow progression of brain damage caused by the disease. Together, these breakthroughs hold potential to improve outcomes and reduce the burden on the health system.
“Modern technology, such as phones and tablets, can support diagnosis in the comfort of people’s homes,” explains Professor Bjoern Schelter, CEO of GT Diagnostics and Chief Analytics Officer at TauRx. “For example, GT Diagnostics has developed a wellbeing app that reveals people’s cognitive health status in minutes. This can be connected to technologies used by healthcare professionals and, with other data, support a more timely diagnosis.”
Modern technology, such as phones and tablets, can
support diagnosis in the comfort of people’s homes.
Blood-based biomarkers enabling early personalised treatment
The second breakthrough is a new drug in development that has shown an effect on readily accessible blood-based biomarkers, which aid the detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and monitoring of its progression. Because biomarkers provide evidence of an individual’s neurodegeneration, treatment can be personalised and therefore more effective.
In people with Alzheimer’s disease, increased amounts of one such biomarker in the blood — Neurofilament Light Chain (NfL) — measure how much damage has been done in the brain and corresponds to decreased cognition and function. “We are testing a drug targeting the tau pathology of Alzheimer’s. This has now been shown to reduce the increase of NfL levels in the blood in people with the disease, which means we’ve been successful in slowing disease progression,” says Professor Wischik, noting that his company is now in discussions with regulators about the treatment.
Earlier detection for better outcomes
Research in this field is generating a huge amount of hope and enthusiasm, says Dr Sonya Miller, Head of Medical Affairs at TauRx. “Companies investigating different aspects of dementia treatment are now seeing their work come to fruition,” she notes. “That’s extremely positive because, like all diseases, several treatment approaches will be needed. On our part, we hope that by identifying people early enough in the process and treating the underlying tau pathology, we can positively impact people’s lives.”