A new drug that could reduce the effect of Alzheimer's disease by 30 percent has just been revealed at today's Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Washington, D.C.
1,000 patients were given an infusion of an antibody called solanezumab once a month, over a period of one-and-a-half years, and the study has shown that the antibody significantly reduces the decline in brain function of patients in the early stages of the disease. As Dr Eric Siemers from the Lilly Research Laboratories, in Indiana, told the BBC, "It's another piece of evidence that solanezumab does have an effect on the underlying disease pathology."
It's not a cure, but this does come as something of a breakthrough, since older Alzheimer drugs only tackle the symptoms. Now, the new drug should reduce the rate at which the disease takes over a person, meaning more people who suffer from the disease could potentially live longer.
An earlier 18-month trial of solanezumab ended in failure in 2012, but this one serves as a landmark moment – as a representative the Alzheimer's Research branch in the UK put it, if this gets replicated, then it's "a real breakthrough in Alzheimer's research."
In the UK, some 850,000 people suffer from the disease, with this number expected to rise to 1 million by 2025. Of America's top ten causes of death, Alzheimer's is only disease and the only one that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed. Every 67 seconds, someone in the US develops the disease. Solanezumab looks like it could at least prolong a sufferer's life span. A new trial on the antibody, to begin next year, should tell us for sure.
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