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Trial drug kindles hopes of Alzheimer's treatment

Nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia across the world. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Paris, France Sep 01, 2016, 10.33 AM (IST)

A trial drug has shown encouraging signs of there being an effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

The drug, named aducanumab, is an antibody that showed "almost complete clearance" of sticky proteins that clot in the brain, a reason that is believed to cause Alzheimer's. The sticky proteins are known as Amyloids.

Experts, however, moved quickly to downplay the significance of the experiment. 

Robert Howard, a professor of old age psychiatry at University College London, told AFP, "Although potentially this is an exciting story, it is important to temper any excitement with considerable caution."

Incidentally, aducanumab is not the first antibody to show positive signs in Phase I of the drug trial. The Phase III efficacy test is the crucial period for any experimental drug. 

"It would be premature to conclude that this is likely to represent an effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease," professor Howard said. 

Aducanumab, an antibody developed by biotech firm Biogen, was used on 165 people suffering from early-stage Alzheimer's for a year. 

The drug recorded some side-effects, including headaches.

Nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia across the world.

In the US, Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death.  

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), around 7.7 million people are diagnosed with the disease every year. 

At the moment, there is no effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease, which leads to memory loss in old age.

(WION with inputs from AFP)

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