New Alzheimer’s drug ‘could be the beginning of the end’ for the brain condition

Alzheimers Research UK explain 'what is dementia?'

Alzheimer’s disease refers to a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behaviour, eventually growing severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

While most available drugs address the symptoms of the mind-robbing condition, the underlying cause often remains untargeted.

However, scientists are expected to unveil crucial findings about a potential game-changer drug that could focus on this exact problem.

Families affected by the brain condition hailed the initial results of this drug which has been shown to slow dementia progression.

This is the second drug being trialled that seems to interrupt the processes laying the groundwork for issues such as memory loss. 

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Today, manufacturer Eli Lilly will publish the full results of a trial for the drug known as donanemab.

However, previous results suggested it could slow mental decline by 36 percent by targeting a brain protein known as tau.

Dr Richard Oakley, associate director at the Alzheimer’s Society, penned for “After 20 years with no new Alzheimer’s disease drugs in the UK, we now have two potential new drugs in 12 months.

“This could be the beginning of the end for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Tau and another protein called amyloid have long been associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Worryingly, these proteins have been suspected of causing the devastating brain condition for three decades.

They are thought to interact with each other, but it’s not exactly clear how.

Last year, a trial of another drug called lecanemab was shown to slow the progression of symptoms by 27 percent by blocking the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain. 

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The two drugs are the first to successfully delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease after decades of trial failures.

Experts now hope that future drugs targeting tau and amyloid could further slow the mind-robbing condition.

From today, scientists around the globe, including the NHS, will begin looking at the trial findings to see whether the benefits outweigh the risks.

Side effects like brain swelling and bleeding were previously associated with such drugs. 

It could take as little as 12 to 18 months for UK regulators to potentially licence donanemab as safe. 

After that, it will be for the NHS to decide on the cost-effectiveness criteria which will determine which patients can have the drug.

Hilary Evansco-chair of the Government’s national Dementia Mission, fears the new drugs would initially only be available to those who can afford to go private. 

She said that huge systemic changes might be needed for the drugs to be widely available even in five to 10 years.

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