New drugs unveiled to stop or slow Alzheimer’s disease

New drugs unveiled to stop or slow Alzheimer’s disease

-Written by Ella Scott

Promising details of drugs that could be the first to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease have been unveiled overnight.

Data from pharmaceutical company Eli Lily suggests that if given to patients early enough, its solanezumab drug can cut the rate of cognitive decline by almost a third.

Meanwhile interim results from a safety study of another drug, Biogen Inc’s aduncanmab, show reduced amounts of the amyloid plaques in the brain, with an increasing effect as the dose increases.

Currently the death of brain cells in Alzheimer’s patients is unstoppable but solanezumab shows signs of keeping them alive.

The results presented to the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington, D.C. have been met with cautious optimism.

A new trial is set to report next year and should provide definitive evidence.

Director of research and development at the British Alzheimer’s Society, Dr Doug Brown said the findings “strongly suggest” that targeting people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease with these antibody treatments is the best way to slow or stop Alzheimer’s disease.

“After a decade of no new therapies for dementia, today’s new is an exciting step forward” he said.

Dr Brown said once ongoing trials finish, the full risks and benefits of the drugs will be known.

Eli Lily’s solanezumab has been the great hope of dementia research for some time, but an 18 month trial of the drug in 2012 ended in failure.

When results of the trail were looked at more closely, however, there was evidence the drug may have been working for patients in the earliest stages of the disease.

It appeared to slow progression of the disease by around 34% during the study.

The company asked more than 1,000 of its patients from the original trial to continue taking the drug for a further two years.

The results were positive, but further trial results next year confirm whether solanezumab is the breakthrough everyone hopes it could be.

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Amy Whittaker
Amy Whittaker 1402 posts

Amy joined the NRN team in August 2011, before graduating from a B of Arts (Communication-Journalism)/B of Sports Studies from Charles Sturt University in December 2011.

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