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2017 Part the Cloud: Translational Research Funding for Alzheimer’s Disease (PTC)

Phase 1b MAD Study of a Novel Drug (MW189) Targeting Neuroinflammation

This Phase I clinical trial will determine the safety of MW189, an experimental drug designed to reduce brain inflammation

Linda Jo Van Eldik, Ph.D.
University of Kentucky Research Foundation
Lexington, KY - United States


In addition to amyloid plaques and tau tangles, a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is brain inflammation (neuroinflammation). Immune cells in the brain called microglia can become activated during Alzheimer’s disease and produce molecules known as cytokines that can promote inflammation. There is evidence that long-standing inflammation in the brain can contribute to declines in brain function during Alzheimer’s disease.

MW189 is a novel drug that has been shown to target microglia and specifically prevent overproduction of proinflammatory cytokines induced by injury or disease. This mechanism is different than other drugs that suppress normal cytokine levels, which can have negative effects. In previous studies, Linda Jo Van Eldik, Ph.D., and colleagues have shown that MW189 reduces brain inflammation and improves cognitive function in mice with an Alzheimer’s-like condition, as well as in mice with traumatic brain injury.

Research Plan

Dr. Van Eldik and team have already conducted a Phase 1a clinical trial to establish the safety of a single dose of MW189 in healthy volunteers. For their current study, they will conduct a Phase 1b clinical trial in healthy volunteers to determine the safety of multiple ascending doses (MAD) of MW189 across a time period of 1-5 days. Participants will be given different dosing regimens and closely monitored for several weeks to determine if there are any negative side effects of the treatment.


This study is an essential step to determine whether repeated doses of MW189 can be given safely to people. If successful, the results of this work could help advance MW189 to future clinical trials in individuals with traumatic brain injury or Alzheimer’s disease to further test its safety and determine if it can effectively inhibit brain inflammation and improve cognitive function.

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