Burlingame, California based mobile platform company Fanfare Entertainment has partnered with Muses Labs to help develop, optimize, and market a next-generation personalized combination therapy for treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
The MEND (metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration) Protocol is designed to enable Alzheimer’s disease patients, their caregivers, family members, and doctors to benefit from a set of monitoring, measuring, testing, tracking, motivation, and adherence functions.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and the only one of the top 10 causes that can’t be prevented, cured or slowed. There are an estimated 5.4 million Alzheimer’s patients in the US alone and roughly 75 million people in the US who carry the ApoE4 gene, placing them at significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and who would particularly benefit from pro-active prevention.
The MEND Protocol incorporates personalized combination therapy for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) that has been shown to slow cognitive decline in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease or its precursors, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or subjective cognitive impairment (SCI). Based on broad understanding of Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis, the MEND Protocol targets multiple interrelated and underlying biological mechanisms of AD simultaneously. The Protocol consists of a complex combination therapy that is personalized for each individual patient, and this personalization process, enabled by technology developed by Muses Labs, is based the individual’s genome, blood chemistry, medical history, medications, and other factors.
Developed in close collaboration between Muses Labs and Fanfare Entertainment, the new AD App is focused on motivating and coaching individuals through the MEND Protocol. Designed to be highly engaging, the app incorporates the best research on motivation, collaboration, and gaming. In addition to motivation and coaching, the App securely gathers data on adherence and cognitive function to inform authorized physicians and caregivers in maintaining an environment designed to improve outcomes.
The MEND protocol was created by Dr. Dale Bredesen, Muses Labs Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA. “Motivation and reminders from thoughtfully-designed technology solutions, helping patients adhere to their therapy and track their progress, are essential to meeting the goals of this multi-faceted protocol,” Dr. Bredesen observes in a Fanfare release.
The MEND Protocol enables a combination therapy for Alzheimer’s disease that is based on a broad understanding of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, and aims to target multiple interrelated underlying biological mechanisms simultaneously.
Dr. Bredesen is internationally recognized as an expert in the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases such as AD. With uniform failure of recent AD drug trials, a critical need for a more accurate understanding of the fundamental nature of the disease is as yet unmet. Dr. Bredesen’s research has led to new insights that help explain the erosion of memory characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, and opened the door to a new therapeutic approach. He has found evidence that AD stems from imbalance in nerve cell signaling. Ergo: in the normal brain, specific signals trigger nerve connections and foster memory-making, while balancing signals support memory breaking, allowing us to forget irrelevant information thus avoiding “information overload.” However in Alzheimers disease, the balance of these complementary opposite brain processes is disturbed, nerve connections are suppressed, and memories lost. That model runs contrary to popular dogma categorizing AD as a disease of brain toxicity, caused by the accumulation of sticky plaques in brain tissues.
Dr. Bredesen believes the amyloid beta peptide, which is the source of such plaques, has a normal function in the brain — that of promoting signals that allow some nerve connections to lapse. Thus, increased levels of the peptide that occur in Alzheimer’s disease shift the memory-making vs. memory-breaking balance in favor of memory loss. This work has led to identification of several new therapeutic candidates currently in pre-clinical trials. One of the most promising compounds, FO3, is a repurposed compound that is currently in a human clinical trial in Australia. This development work was begun, and has continued to be supported by, grants from the Rosenberg Alzheimer’s Project.
“Our hope is to develop treatments that will successfully reset the imbalance in the memory-making, memory-breaking processes that we believe leads to Alzheimers disease says Dr. Bredesen, who is also a professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, a nonprofit research and education center on aging where he was formerly the institution’s founding President and CEO. The Buck Institute is the nation’s first independent research facility focused solely on understanding the connection between aging and chronic disease.
Early successes led to the creation of the Acceleration Project, designed to focus the Bredesen Lab’s existing therapeutic pipeline and targets, identify lead development candidates for further testing, and swiftly secure additional funding for the most promising compounds.
Dr. Bredesen also considers AD to be a systemic disease. He notes that by the time the disease is active, many brain receptors and related neurological functions have already been compromised. Consequently, focusing on one aspect of the disease, or one aspect of overall brain health is not likely to be enough. With respect to this bigger picture perspective, he makes a case for combination therapies, as well as use of supplements, exercise and diet as a part of any strategy to get out in front of Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders.
“Our hope is to develop treatments that will successfully reset the imbalance in the memory-making, memory-breaking processes that we believe leads to Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr. Bredeson.
Muses Labs CEO Vik Chandra comments: “For a protocol to be effective, individuals have to be able to adhere to it. Driving adherence among individuals with MCI and Alzheimer’s disease is a problem that calls for novel solutions. Fanfare’s unique platform, skills, and ability to leverage the latest eHealth developments from vendors such as Apple are key to enabling patients to adhere to their protocols and to collaborate with their physicians and caregivers. The capabilities of Muses Labs and Fanfare together will lead a transformation in the care of individuals with complex diseases.”
“Fanfare Entertainment has partnered with artists like Keith Urban, Heart, and Bryan Adams, as well as brands including Nobu and Jim Shore, to create dynamic, interactive apps. The company members are now excited to be deploying the technology platform they have created and applying it to something as urgent as Alzheimer’s care,” says Fanfare co-Founder and CEO Lance Kelly. “All of us are aware of someone whose life has been dramatically impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. We are privileged to partner with Muses Labs and to have the opportunity to utilize our sophisticated platform and talents to support the MEND Protocol.”
Lance Kelly, a University of Texas at Austin graduate who majored in Mathematics and Computer Science, previously held senior management positions at Apple Computer, Exodus Communications, Centrata, and ePlay and brings over 20 years of experience in software development, technical, and operational management to Fanfare Entertainment. The company focuses on delivering mobile experiences that engage consumers in music, sports, entertainment, consumer products, and other brand-intensive industries. The company focuses on monetization of fans and consumers loyal to their brands and celebrities in music, sports, the entertainment business in general, as well as a number of significant corporate clients throughout the country, and has successfully done what many other high-tech startups have failed to do — effectively engage and monetize a brand’s fans — by creating an entire new layer of revenue stream that has previously not existed within the mobile platform through its unique mobile apps, and through Rifftime, an innovative record label and musician showcase targeting veteran and amateur artists alike. To learn more, visit:
Muses Labs (http://museslabs.com), delivers software-based services to enable personalized protocols for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Muses Labs enables physicians to apply the MEND (Metabolic Enhancement for NeuroDegeneration) Protocol for addressing individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and its precursors.
Fanfare Entertainment, LLC
Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Buck Institute for Research on Aging