Breaking News Dispatch: International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases

By: Caleigh Findley, PhD, BrightFocus Foundation

  • Research News
Published on:

Reviewed By: Sharyn Rossi, PhD, BrightFocus Foundation 

Last week, Alzheimer’s Disease Research, a BrightFocus Foundation program, joined over 4,500 scientists, physicians, and industry leaders from 70 countries at the annual International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases (AD/PD). Dozens of Alzheimer’s Disease Research grantees presented their latest research at the conference, and around 700 scientists joined us for our Common Features symposium exploring connections between eye and brain diseases.  

Researchers gathered with a common purpose in mind: striving for a better future for all those affected by neurodegenerative diseases.   

Among the many developments shared at AD/PD, we have curated a few of the exciting top headlines below. Read on for the key takeaways:  

C2N Diagnostics is Expanding Access to Alzheimer’s Blood Test   

A group of blood samples on a rack on a table.


After launching a first-of-its-kind blood test for Alzheimer’s, C2N Diagnostics has announced a $15 million investment from drug manufacturer Eisai to expand access and availability. Empowered by pivotal early support from BrightFocus’ Alzheimer’s Disease Research program, the company is poised to bring early detection to more people with Alzheimer’s in the U.S.  

PrecivityAD became the first Alzheimer’s blood test commercially available for routine clinical care in 2020. C2N expanded its offering in 2023 with PrecivityAD2, which measures both Alzheimer’s disease proteins, amyloid and tau, for better diagnosis in early disease stages.  

“With this financing, we’re building on our history of attracting the highest-quality investors committed to changing the trajectory of Alzheimer’s disease through early detection and treatment and, ultimately, prevention,” said C2N CEO Dr. Joel Braunstein in a statement. 

Read more.


Leqembi Slows Tau Buildup in Early Alzheimer’s 

A close-up of a cell with tau buildup.
Photo Credit: NIH Flickr


In a Phase 3 clinical trial, anti-amyloid therapy Leqembi slowed the accumulation of a known Alzheimer’s disease protein, tau, in the brain. The drug manufacturer, Eisai, presented their results on Thursday. The study recruited participants with early Alzheimer’s who then received treatment for 18 months. The findings build on current knowledge of Leqembi’s ability to slow cognitive decline.  

“[Leqembi] treatment of early Alzheimer’s disease in the Phase 3 Clarity Alzheimer’s disease study had less clinical decline and slower tau accumulation than placebo,” said Dr. Michael Irizarry, deputy chief clinical officer and senior vice president of clinical research at Eisai. “The earlier [mild cognitive impairment] MCI due to [Alzheimer's disease] AD and mild AD dementia are diagnosed and treated, the greater the opportunity for the patient to benefit. We will continue to share the importance of and rationale for early treatment with [Leqembi] to the scientific community.” 

Read more from Eisai


On The Horizon: Alzheon’s Oral Alzheimer’s Treatment 

A digital rendering of nerve cells.


Drug manufacturer Alzheon presented positive results from ongoing Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials for ALZ-801, an oral treatment targeting a toxic form of amyloid in the brain. The Phase 2 trial recruited people with one or two copies of the Alzheimer’s risk gene, APOE4, and early Alzheimer’s disease. Trial results thus far show that ALZ-801 significantly reduced the level of Alzheimer’s disease proteins, tau and amyloid, in the blood. It also reduced the amount of shrinkage (~28%) occurring in a critical brain area for learning and memory, which was associated with better cognition for treated participants. Trial results point toward possible disease-modifying action for ALZ-801, now in an easily accessible oral form.  

This news comes alongside a reportedly favorable safety profile for ALZ-801 from Alzheon’s larger Phase 3 trial. The company anticipates final trial results this year that will empower a formal application for marketing approval.  

“The growing body of evidence continues to support ALZ-801’s potential as the first oral anti-amyloid disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, and we are excited about the potential of ALZ-801 to improve access to treatment for patients around the world,” Dr. Martin Tolar, CEO of Alzheon said in a statement. “Results from our pivotal APOLLOE4 Phase 3 trial will set the stage for the potential NDA filing this year and commercial launch in 2025.” 

Read more from Alzheon.


An Oral Anti-Tau Therapy Coming Down the Pipeline  

Some pills on a table with brain scan images in the background.


New data from a Phase 3 clinical trial points to the possibility of a first oral anti-tau therapy for Alzheimer’s treatment. The study treated people with mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s for two years with the oral drug hydromethylthionine mesylate (HMTM). Those receiving the drug also showed better cognition at 18 months than those without treatment. At two years, treated individuals did not show signs of cognitive decline—suggesting the medication may slow disease progression. The company shared that they are working with regulators and moving towards an application for marketing approval in the US and UK.  

"We have reached an exciting time in the field of Alzheimer’s disease treatment. After no new therapies for a generation, we are on the threshold of having a range of new treatments, including a tau-targeted oral therapy, which have the real potential to slow the disease process. This is great news for people with Alzheimer's disease, their families and carers,” said Professor Alistair Burns, Emeritus Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at the University of Manchester and previously England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia in the AD/PD panel discussion. 

Read more from TauRx Pharmaceuticals.  


New Alzheimer’s Screening Tests Launching in 2024 

Scientist holding a red pill sitting next to a microscope.


Alamar Biosciences launches two new screening tests for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders at AD/PD. The first, NULISAseq CNS Disease Panel 120, examines several known disease proteins across multiple major neurological disorders. This provides physician scientists with a more comprehensive way to examine brain diseases through fluid biomarkers. The second, NULISAqpcr pTau-217, has a superior ability to detect Alzheimer’s disease protein, tau, in fluid samples. The high performance level of this test means less sample needed from clinical trial participants, according to the company. Together, they aim to provide physician scientists with more tools for early, accurate detection of neurodegenerative diseases.  

“The Alamar products represent a significant advancement in Alzheimer’s Disease research by providing the sensitivity to detect critical biomarkers from as little as 10 microliters of blood or cerebrospinal fluid,” said study leader Dr. Henrik Zetterberg, professor and chief physician at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology at the University Gothenburg, Sweden, in a statement. “I’m especially excited about their ability to measure low abundant biomarkers from dried blood spots, a standard collection method that can be done in one’s home and really opens the possibility for early screening of the disease.” 

Read more from Alamar Biosciences


Eli Lilly Presents Data on a Possible Upcoming Alzheimer’s Treatment 

A blue brain with a blue background.


The FDA announced last week that it will convene a meeting of expert advisors to review a new drug application from Eli Lilly on the latest amyloid-targeting therapy, donanemab. On Thursday, the company presented findings from a Phase 3 clinical trial comparing donanemab to another Alzheimer’s therapy that was recently discontinued. Trial participants included those with early Alzheimer’s who received either donanemab or the other amyloid-targeting therapy for 18 months. They found that more participants with early Alzheimer’s showed a reduction in toxic amyloid protein in the brain (called amyloid plaques) when treated with donanemab (77%) compared to the other treatment (42%). Further, the amount of time it took to remove the amyloid plaques from the brain was faster for those receiving donanemab (359 days versus 568 days, respectively). The company also reported a greater reduction in several Alzheimer’s blood biomarkers with donanemab treatment.  

Stay tuned as we await more information from the FDA.

As a leader in interdisciplinary research connecting the eye and the brain, Alzheimer’s Disease Research was proud to sponsor and host the pre-conference meeting to AD/PD. Topics discussed include:   

Moving Towards "Digital Biomarkers" in Clinical Studies

Many news outlets are covering blood biomarkers as a tool in dementia research. Experts believe we can take this a step further by leveraging digital platforms that can detect changes in movement, speech, or other known clinical signs of dementia. These digital tools may also track changes in performance on cognitive tests commonly used by researchers. 

A digital rendering of a purple brain with a lens flare.

Big Data Poised to Revolutionize Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials

University of Southern California informatics expert, Gustavo Jimenez-Maggiora, shared a case study on improving data sharing between Alzheimer’s clinical trials. He emphasized the need for “big collaboration” between researchers and a next-generation approach prioritizing open information sharing with the scientific community.

Abstract image showing big data.

View Alzheimer’s disease resources and learn more about the innovative research funded by BrightFocus Foundation’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research program.   

Additional Resources: 

This Breaking News Digest is supported by an educational grant from Eli Lilly & Company.

About BrightFocus Foundation      

BrightFocus Foundation is a premier global nonprofit funder of research to defeat Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Through its flagship research programs — Alzheimer’s Disease Research, National Glaucoma Research, and Macular Degeneration Research — the Foundation has awarded nearly $290 million in groundbreaking research funding over the past 50 years and shares the latest research findings, expert information, and resources to empower the millions impacted by these devastating diseases. Learn more at    


The information provided in this section is a public service of BrightFocus Foundation, should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional, and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Although we make efforts to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information on our website reflects the most up-to-date research.     

Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy. 

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