RI Hospital announces “TANGO” clinical trial to combat Alzheimer’s

January 15, 2019

Investigators at Rhode Island Hospital’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center are now recruiting volunteers for the TANGO study, a national, multicenter clinical trial. The trial will evaluate the use of a highly innovative approach treating people with Mild Cognitive Impairment or early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) using an immunotherapy drug.  The drug, called BIIB092, uses antibodies to target the tau protein that builds up in the brain cells of people with AD. The trial is sponsored by Biogen, a global biopharmaceutical company based in Massachusetts.

Before AD symptoms appear, two proteins called tau and amyloid have begun accumulating in the brains of people with AD. The build-up of tau and amyloid can interfere with how the brain normally works, and causes problems with memory and thinking. The experimental drug being used in TANGO attaches to the tau protein to prevent it from spreading throughout the brain.

Amyloid and tau in the brain can been seen by using a special type of brain scan called an amyloid Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan. Only people with higher levels of amyloid plaques on their PET scans will qualify to participate in this study.

In this study, the drug will be given intravenously monthly and 2 out of every 3 people will get BIIB092. People who do not receive the study medicine will get a placebo infusion of salt water.  This study will last for about 18 months. Every person joining this study must have a study partner who is able to come to some of the study visits.

According to Brian Ott, M.D., principal investigator at Rhode Island Hospital, “Because changes in tau are more closely related to the degeneration of nerve cells as well as the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, we are hopeful that this will be a successful approach to controlling the disease.  Among investigational drugs currently under study for AD, BIIB092 is exciting in that it does not aim to reduce amyloid protein buildup in the brain, but is an immunotherapy that targets tau protein.” 

Interested volunteers should contact the Rhode Island Hospital Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center at 1-844-5MEMORY or by email at memory@lifespan.org.

Media Contact

Christina Spaight O'Reilly

Senior Public Relations Officer
Rhode Island Hospital