There may be hope in the form of an experimental Alzheimer’s drug. Researchers say that they are closer to perhaps preventing the disease altogether in the very near future.
The new drug targets, eradicates, and then removes amyloid plaques. These are toxic proteins that bundle together and develop in the brain, often occurring in aging individuals but not at a level similar to early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen developed the drug, called aducanumab, and funded the study. Despite remaining “cautiously optimistic” due to the small size of the trial, it is considered the best news they’ve had in 25 years of conducting Alzheimer’s research.
In the trial, 165 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s participated. They each had received a monthly intravenous dose of either aducanumab or a placebo. Over the course of one year, 103 patients were given different doses of the drug.
PET scans disclosed that participants who received the highest dose demonstrated the largest degree of plaque reduction. Scans of the 40 patients that only took placebos were primarily unchanged.
However, the drug does have a few side effects, such as brain swelling. But, researchers say that routine brain scans could monitor swelling and conduct treatment if necessary.
Larger trials of aducanumab involving Alzheimer’s patients are currently in progress. The researchers plan to continue the trials until 2020.
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