SOURCE: Prana Biotechnology

July 08, 2008 08:18 ET

Prana Co-Founding Scientist Professor Rudolph Tanzi, Addressed U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging

Comments on Prana Developments and Future Prospects for Therapeutic Approaches for Alzheimer's Disease

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - July 8, 2008) - Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Co-Founding Scientist of Prana Biotechnology Limited (NASDAQ: PRAN) (ASX: PBT), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the research and development of treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, was invited this past May to testify in front of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on the Future of Alzheimer's: Breakthroughs and Challenges. The hearing, lead by Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Senator Gordon H. Smith (R-OR), discussed Alzheimer's Disease as a growing crisis and how the United States can accelerate its efforts against the disease. Additional participants included Sandra Day O'Connor, Former Supreme Court Justice, Member of the Alzheimer's Study Group, Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Member of the Alzheimer's Study Group, Charles Jackson, Alzheimer's patient and Suzanne Carabone, Alzheimer's patient caregiver.

The recent failed clinical studies of what were once-promising Alzheimer's drugs have now attracted much attention to Prana and the future of therapeutic treatments to Alzheimer's disease. In response Dr. Tanzi, an internationally recognized authority on Alzheimer's disease who has co-discovered three of the four known genes that cause Alzheimer's disease, presented information to the U.S. Senate on the differing Abeta-targeted therapeutic approaches, and commented upon the ongoing clinical trials in Alzheimer's disease.

Key material from the testimonial included:

--  Future prospects for immunotherapy and gamma-secretase therapeutic
--  Approaches to targeting and regulating Abeta production; and,
--  Recent developments regarding drugs aimed at treating and preventing
    Alzheimer's disease.

Prana's theories concerning the interaction between metals and the protein Abeta in the brain are the basis of the company's treatments for Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Prana's proprietary lead compound, PBT2, recently concluded a Phase IIa trial in early Alzheimer's disease, which demonstrated safety and tolerability, and significant reductions in Abeta 42 and improvement in Executive Function performance in cognitive tests. Prana will be presenting this data at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD) in July.

Dr Tanzi stated, "Unlike other approaches, Prana's PBT2 appears to neutralize the neurotoxicity of Abeta and facilitates its clearance from the brain. Prana's latest clinical trial results were highly encouraging, by significantly lowering Abeta 42 in the cerebrospinal fluid, and improving cognition in the executive function of patients over a 12-week period. I testified to the U.S. Senate that therapies targeted against the amyloid beta protein offer the best chance at slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's disease. It is my strong belief that PBT2 is among the very best therapies available for achieving this goal."

About Dr. Rudolph Tanzi

Dr. Rudolph Tanzi is a Professor of Neurology (and Neuroscience) at Harvard University, and serves as the Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit consisting of eight laboratories in the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at MGH. Since 1982, Dr. Tanzi has focused his studies on Alzheimer's disease (AD). He isolated the first familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) gene, known as the amyloid beta-protein (A4) precursor (APP) in 1987, and another in 1995, called presenilin 2. Dr. Tanzi is also a co-founder of the "Metal hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease." His laboratory first discovered that the metals zinc and copper are necessary for the formation of neurotoxic assemblies of the AD-associated peptide, Abeta, the main component of beta-amyloid deposits in brains of AD patients. These studies have led to ongoing clinical trials for treating and preventing AD by targeting Abetametal interactions.

Dr. Tanzi has co-authored over 320 research articles and reviews, including three of the top ten most cited papers in AD research over the last decade over which time he was the 5th most cited scientist in the field of AD research. He is also a co-author of a popular trade book on Alzheimer's disease entitled "Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer's Disease." Dr. Tanzi has received several awards for his work, including the two highest awards for Alzheimer's disease research: The Metropolitan Life Foundation Award and The Potamkin Prize.

About Prana Biotechnology Limited

Prana Biotechnology was established to commercialize research into Alzheimer's disease and other major age-related neurodegenerative disorders. The company was incorporated in 1997 and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in March 2000 and listed on NASDAQ in September 2002. Researchers at prominent international institutions including The University of Melbourne, The Mental Health Research Institute (Melbourne) and Massachusetts General Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, contributed to the discovery of Prana's technology.

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