We’re constantly hearing about new advances in medical science that could help treat or cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
But it’s a trial for a new Alzheimer’s drug that has doctors and scientists excited.
The drug, verubecestat, has been shown to target the most visible sign of Alzheimer’s in the brain – toxic amyloid proteins.
These proteins are what doctors believe lead to the development of sticky plaques on the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
The results of the trial, published in Science Transitional Medicine, revealed that the drug had reduced two compounds that produce the amyloid proteins.
While the drugs didn’t show any changes to the plaques on the brain, neuroscientist John Hardy told The Guardian he was convinced the drug was successful in targeting the buildup of plaques.
But he is uncertain about whether that would have any cognitive benefits for patients.
“What we have to be worried about is that the plaques have set off other pathologies – that it is too late,” he said.
“People are excited.
“This is a very nice drug and I’m sure Merck (the pharmaceutical company) are feeling very pleased with themselves.”
The drug is raising hopes that effective treatment for Alzheimer’s could be within reach.
The next big test for the drug is whether or not it can slow the pace of mental decline, with results due in July next year.
If it can slow mental decline, it’s predicted to be the first licensed treatment for the disease in more than a decade.
But before you get excited, it could be a long time before you see the drug available.
The leader of the trial Matt Kennedy said it was too early to predict when the drug would be available if it is successful.
“We are eagerly awaiting the results of the phase three clinical trials,” he said.
“It is premature to speculate on availability.”
What do you think? Are you hopeful a treatment will be found soon?