Development of disease-modifying drugs for frontotemporal dementia spectrum disorders

Francesco Panza, Madia Lozupone, Davide Seripa, Antonio Daniele, Mark Watling, Gianluigi Giannelli, Bruno P. Imbimbo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) encompasses a spectrum of clinical syndromes characterized by progressive executive, behavioural and language dysfunction. The various FTD spectrum disorders are associated with brain accumulation of different proteins: tau, the transactive response DNA binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP43), or fused in sarcoma (FUS) protein, Ewing sarcoma protein and TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 (TAF15) (collectively known as FET proteins). Approximately 60% of patients with FTD have autosomal dominant mutations in C9orf72, GRN or MAPT genes. Currently available treatments are symptomatic and provide limited benefit. However, the increased understanding of FTD pathogenesis is driving the development of potential disease-modifying therapies. Most of these drugs target pathological tau — this category includes tau phosphorylation inhibitors, tau aggregation inhibitors, active and passive anti-tau immunotherapies, and MAPT-targeted antisense oligonucleotides. Some of these therapeutic approaches are being tested in phase II clinical trials. Pharmacological approaches that target the effects of GRN and C9orf72 mutations are also in development. Key results of large clinical trials will be available in a few years. However, clinical trials in FTD pose several challenges, and the development of specific brain imaging and molecular biomarkers could facilitate the recruitment of clinically homogenous groups to improve the chances of positive clinical trial results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-228
Number of pages16
JournalNature Reviews Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of disease-modifying drugs for frontotemporal dementia spectrum disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this