New Hope for Treatment of Mild Alzheimers

By Sharon Smith
Thursday, 23 July, 2015

A drug developed by US pharmaceutical company Lilly has shown evidence of slowing the worsening of the disease. Current treatments for Alzheimer’s can alleviate symptoms but don’t slow underlying disease progression.

Solanezumab had initially been used in clinical trials targeting beta amyloid by binding it and clearing it from the brain. This treatment, along with trials run by other drug companies, showed poor results when reported back in 2012 however Lilly continued the trials in a subgroup of patients which has now shown positive results.

Now it appears that patients with mild Alzheimers are benefitting from the drug and Lilly hopes solanezumab becomes the first marketed treatment to slow the worsening of the underlying disease.

“Here we have a safe antibody treatment, solanezumab, that appears to benefit mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia subjects,” said Paul Aisen, director of the Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute at the University of Southern California, who presented the results.

The clinical trials are currently ongoing and will not conclude until the end of 2016.

Clare Walton, the research manager at the UK Alzheimer's Society, told the BBC: "The data hints that the antibodies are having an effect, it is promising and it's better than no effect, but it's inconclusive.

"After a decade of no treatments and many drug failures, it's exciting to get promising news, but it doesn't really tell us either way, and we need to wait for the phase-three study, and that is in 18 months."

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