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NILVAD project team holds first meeting in Dublin

Wednesday 15 February 2012

The first NILVAD project meeting took place on 15-16 February in Dublin. The five year project will conduct Phase III clinical trials of the drug Nilvadipine on some 500 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease in nine European countries. The trials will determine if Nilvadipine can improve memory and functioning, but also slow the rate of progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The meeting was chaired by Brian Lawlor (Project Coordinator and Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin) and drew 43 delegates from the 17 partners that will work on the project (see below). Attendees discussed all of the administrative and scientific aspects of the study and established key priorities and timelines. The clinical trials will begin in late 2012 at some 20 sites in France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. Each trial will last for 18 months, with participants receiving treatment or placebo.

Nilvadipine is a calcium channel blocker that has been used for many years to treat hypertension. Laboratory research has shown that it blocks production of the amyloid protein that is thought to be central to the Alzheimer’s disease process. Amyloid is deposited as plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

In Alzheimer's mouse models, Nilvadipine was very effective at reducing development of amyloid plaques in the brain, increasing clearance of amyloid out of the brain and increasing cerebral blood flow. It also improved cognitive function in the mice.

These discoveries prompted a pilot clinical trial to determine whether Nilvadipine could be safely administered to humans with Alzheimer's disease. The trial was successful and led directly to the current NILVAD project, which will receive funding of up to EUR 6 million from the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

NILVAD project partners:

Country

NILVAD partner

France

Centre Hospitalier Régional et Universitaire de Lille

Germany

GABO:mi, Universität Ulm

Greece

Aristotelio Panepistimio Thessalonikis

Hungary

Szegedi Tudomanyegyetem

Ireland

Molecular Medicine Ireland

Newsweaver

St. James's Hospital

Trinity College Dublin

University College Cork

University College Dublin

Italy

Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri

*Luxembourg

Alzheimer Europe

The Netherlands

Stichting Katholieke Universiteit

Sweden

Goeteborgs Universitet

UK

King's College London

*USA

Archer Pharmaceuticals

*No clinical trial in this country.

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