A new drug is set to be released and offer fresh hope in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most prevalent forms of dementia. Wednesday is the due day when results of studies testing solanezumab will be unveiled in the context of the Alzheimer’s Association International conference that takes place in Washington.
Even though preventive medicine for Alzheimer’s is still some years away, researchers have mixed a compound that has the ability of slowing down the neurodegenerative effects of the disease in patients who receive it early on.
If the medicine proves successful, its discovery will represent a landmark and a new step in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the assessments of Dr. Eric Karran, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK and lead author of the study, the drug has proved to significantly reduce the advancement of the disease in the patients who suffered from a mild form of Alzheimer’s. He pointed out that this is in no way a cure for it, but a relieving medicine.
The study showed that patients in the control group – the ones who received a placebo instead of solanezumab – presented a neurodegeneration consistent with the disease. But for those who were administered the drug, the disease advanced at a rate slower by about 30 percent.
Over the 1 year and half that the study monitored, patients in the two groups started to differentiate in a clear way by reaching different stages of the disease, some more advanced than others. Researchers noticed that patients on the drug did not experience such sever deterioration.
Dr. Karran was also encouraged by the fact that this compound is the first to show it has abilities of modifying the course of the disease. In an interview for BBC Radio 4, he explained that several years might pass before the drug become available to NHS patients.
It’s quite a hassle to get a new medicine on the market, and the solanezumab still has some phases to go through; successfully going through the phase three trial that will take place in 2016; receiving regulatory approval; and earning the ‘appropriate risk-benefit’ status from the NHS.
A new person develops dementia every three minutes in the UK, amounting to roughly 225,000 people to receive a dementia diagnosis in the UK by the end of this year. Projections made by the Alzheimer’s Society show that 1 million will be living with dementia in less than 10 years. The tragic 2 million milestone is expected to be reached by 2051.
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