TauRx Therapeutics has announced that the first of over 100 UK patients have enrolled in the global Phase III clinical trials of its experimental Alzheimer’s drug LMTX.

The news coincides with Dementia Awareness Week in the UK launched by the Alzheimer’s Society.

LMTX is a tau aggregation inhibitor that targets ‘tau tangles’ in the brain, and could provide the first definitive date on a tau-based treatment that slows or halts Alzheimer’s disease.

The tau protein usually binds to microtubules, a component of cellular scaffolding, and assists with their formation and stabilization.

But under some conditions, these proteins are unable to bind and the microtubules become unstable. The unbound tau then clumps together in formations called neurofibrillary tangles.

TauRx Therapeutics co-founder and executive chairman Claude Wischik said: "It is hoped that this study will shed new light on our understanding of how tau tangles form, their role in dementia, and ultimately how to stop them from spreading in the brain. LMTX could also provide a basis for preventive treatment of Alzheimer’s before any symptoms appear."

The Phase III trials will involve over 1,500 patients in more than 20 countries, with about 16 medical centres participating in the UK.

According to Alzheimer’s Society, there are currently 800,000 people in the UK living with dementia and this is expected to grow to over a million people by 2021.

Image: It is hoped that TauRx Therapeutics’ clinical trials will shed light on how tau tangles form in the brain. Credit: