A successful Alzheimer’s disease cure research shows remarkable results that a treatment for the chronic neurodegenerative disease is within reach. If it could show slowing the pace of a patient’s mental decline, the drug could be the first licensed treatment of the disease in a decade.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), or just Alzheimer’s, is a disease that causes 60 to 70 percent of dementia cases. Dementia affects around 850,000 people in Britain and it is projected to reach 1 million by 2025. Alzheimer’s is the condition’s most common form.
To date, there are no treatments or medications to decrease the risk of getting the disease and stopping or reversing its progression. But that will hopefully soon change as a successful drug trial shows promising results in switching off the production of toxic amyloid proteins – these proteins clump together and form sticky plaques that are found in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients.
Alzheimer’s Disease Cure Research
The trial that was published in the journal Science Translation Medicine conducted a study on 32 Alzheimer’s disease patients. They were given the drug called verubecestat every day for seven days.
There were also healthy volunteers that were given the same drug, which they took for two weeks.
What was initially a drug trial for assessment of the drug’s safety showed remarkable findings that “switched off” the generation of amyloid proteins. Even though it does not yet have enough time to show visible changes in the aggregation of sticky plaque in the brain, two compounds of amyloid proteins that are known to be its building blocks were seen to lessen.
These tablets are being produced by pharmaceutical giant Merck. Matt Kennedy led the drug trial at Merck and revealed that there is an “urgent need” for drugs like verubecestat.
Nowadays, patients of Alzheimer’s disease have “very limited therapeutic options available.” While there are some that exist, they only work by giving “short-term improvement to the cognitive and functional systems.”
How does the drug work?
There is a leading theory of Alzheimer’s disease that state amyloid proteins kill the healthy neurons in a person’s brain which leads to memory loss and a decline in one’s cognitive and personality skills. And the new therapy halts the production of these proteins.
The drug works by blocking BACE1, a brain enzyme that leads to the production of two small molecules that lead to the formation of amyloids. There have been many attempts before at creating drugs that inhibit BACE1. However, their unacceptable side effects led to the medication’s failure.
But with the Merck drug, the side effects are very minimal. It will also be the first drug of its kind to reach a large efficacy trial.
A neuroscientist at UCL, Professor John Hardy, who was also the first to propose that amyloid proteins play a major role in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, are thrilled with the result of the Merck drug. He says it is a “very nice drug” and he is sure that “Merck are feeling very pleased with themselves.”
Merck Drug Goes into Phase Three of Trial
What is left now is to see whether the drug will slow down a patient’s mental decline and if it will convert cognitive benefits for the patients. As the drug goes into Phase 3 of the trial, more patients will be tested with 1,500 patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and 2,000 patients who have mild to moderate AD.First results of these trials are scheduled to be reported on July 2017.
First results of these trials are scheduled to be reported on July 2017. Kennedy says it is “premature to speculate” the availability of the drug in the market.However, they are “eagerly awaiting the results of phase three clinical trials.”
However, they are “eagerly awaiting the results of phase three clinical trials.”With the findings of the Alzheimer’s disease cure research, a cheaper and easier to produce medication for Alzheimer’s patients will hopefully soon be within reach.
With the findings of the Alzheimer’s disease cure research, a cheaper and easier to produce medication for Alzheimer’s patients will hopefully soon be within reach.
Photo source: Flickr