Press release | 20th Apr 2024

Our perspectives on key themes from American Academy of Neurology (AAN) meeting

American Academy of Neurology (AAN) represents over 40,000 neurologists and neuroscientists with its annual meeting seeing over 15,000 attendees and industry leaders congregate to present and discuss data, current trends and themes across the neurology and neuroscience landscapes.

The 2024 meeting, held in Denver Colorado 13th to 18th April, covered various indications encompassed by neuropsychiatry, neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative and neuro-oncology, whilst also delving into imaging methodologies, clinical trial designs, clinician guidance sessions and “hot-topic” debates. Amongst these topics there were several recurring themes which included:

  • The continued focus on disease modifying therapies (DMTs) for Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
  • Promise for improved epilepsy therapies
  • A field focused on broadening MOAs for Alzheimer’s therapies
  • Opportunities to reduce health disparities for patients with neurological disorders

Continued focus on disease modifying therapies DMTs for Parkinson’s

Various sessions delved into gut-brain signaling manipulation, with Valentian Leta’s presenting SymPD trial data showing that probiotics enriched microbiota and correlated with reduced inflammation, disease burden, and improved response to levodopa. Updates from Vaxxinity on UB-312 (alpha-synuclein peptide) showed potential in reducing alpha-synuclein pathology in PD patients’ CSF and yielding early clinical improvements. Similarly, a mRNA translation promoter and axon pro-regenerator (FHND1002), demonstrated promising pre-clinical developments with enhanced motor function and neuron longevity. These and other sessions underscored the urgent need for medicines that target and modify PD, highlighted some of the key developments to this end, while pointing towards a promising future for PD treatment where DMTs are integrated into the treatment paradigm and enhance patient outcomes.

Promise for improved epilepsy therapies

While well established, current epilepsy treatments such as AEDs, surgery, electrical stimulation, and dietary approaches come with many side effects and reduced quality of life. UCB presented real-world data on the oral Brivaracetam, showing a reduction in seizures at 12 months in patients with epilepsy with no worsening of cognitive issues. Similarly, BioHaven’s BHV-7000 (Phase 1) demonstrated heightened EEG spectral power across typical frequency bands, with no occurrences of somnolence or cognitive disturbances. Neurona Therapeutics’ Phase 1/2 trial of NRTX-1001 reported a durable reduction in seizures for 80% of patients without neurocognitive or quality of life impairments. Xeon Therapeutic’s Phase 2b X-TOLE trial of XEN1101 demonstrated sustained seizure reduction and good tolerability overall, with some memory impairment and somnolence. These advancements signal a promising future for epilepsy therapeutics, aiming to reduce current side effects, particularly cognitive abnormalities, while maintaining significant efficacy in seizure reduction.

Broadening Alzheimer’s therapeutic MOAs

In a plenary session led by Eric McDad (Washington University) and David Jones (Mayo Clinic) the role of amyloid targeting therapeutics was debated, with a focus on whether amyloid DMTs alone are sufficient for the management of Alzheimer’s disease. In this session, the audience was polled with an overwhelming 93% indicating that a focus amyloid will not be sufficient to address this complicated disease. This outcome was further reinforced in subsequent sessions, which highlighted alternative disease modifying therapeutic options, including semaglutide, AL002, CT1812 and BIIB08.

Opportunities to reduce health disparities for patients with neurological disorders

A recurring theme at AAN across all therapy areas was the need for the neurology community to come together to identify and address health disparities across the research and treatment paradigm.  Such affirmative action was highlighted in the plenary talk presented by Altaf Saadi (Massachusetts General Hospital) and in sessions presented by Tanisha Hill-Jarret (University of California) and Raina Croff (Oregon Health and Science University). Together these sessions highlighted the importance of ensuring that clinical trials include patients from diverse populations, due to the variance in efficacy, side effects and co-morbidities across different ethnic groups. Data from such studies will provide insight into the best therapeutic options for individuals who often do not participate in clinical trials.  As the field moves towards more inclusive clinical studies, HCPs will be able to make more informed and personalized decisions when prescribing treatments to a broad range of patients; this should ultimately increase effectiveness of medicines and reduce adverse events in the long term.

Beyond these updates, AAN also saw a host of discussion around various other indications, with a new entrant to the ALSP space and other rare-diseases, clinical data presentations for Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neuron Disease and Glioma and imaging developments all equaling significant parts to play in AAN 2024.

We at Lifescience Dynamics will continue to follow the impact of these new data and across each indication. If you would like discuss any of these themes or insights in more detail, please contact info@lifesciencedynamics.com.

 

 

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