NYMC Faculty Publications


A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Phase II Study Assessing Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Bryostatin in the Treatment of Moderately Severe to Severe Alzheimer's Disease

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2019




BACKGROUND: Bryostatin-activated PKC epsilon pre-clinically induces synaptogenesis, anti-apoptosis, anti-amyloid-beta oligomers, and anti-hyperphosphorylated tau. OBJECTIVES: To investigate bryostatin safety, tolerability, and efficacy to improve cognition in advanced Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. METHODS: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled Phase II, 12-week trial of i.v. bryostatin for 150 advanced AD patients (55-85) with MMSE-2 of 4-15, randomized 1:1:1 into 20 mug and 40 mug bryostatin, and placebo arms. The Full Analysis Set (FAS) and the Completer Analysis Set (CAS) were pre-specified alternative assessments (1-sided, p < 0.1 for primary efficacy, and 2-sided, p < 0.05 for pre-specified and post hoc exploratory analyses). RESULTS: The safety profile was similar for 20 mug treatment and placebo patients. The 40 mug patients showed safety and drop-out issues, but no efficacy. Primary improvement of Severe Impairment Battery (SIB) scores at 13 weeks was not significant (p = 0.134) in the FAS, although in the CAS, the SIB comparison favored 20 mug bryostatin compared to placebo patients (p < 0.07). Secondary analyses at weeks 5 and 15 (i.e., 30 days post-final dosing) also favored 20 mug bryostatin compared to placebo patients. A pre-specified ANCOVA for baseline memantine blocking bryostatin and positive post-hoc trend analyses were statistically significant (2-sided, p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Although the primary endpoint was not significant in the FAS, primary and secondary analyses in the CAS, and pre-specified and post-hoc exploratory analyses did favor bryostatin 20 mug compared to the placebo cohort. These promising Phase II results support further trials of 20 mug bryostatin- without memantine- to treat AD.