A new drug halts the devastating progress of Alzheimer’s disease, say British scientists.
It is said to be more than twice as effective as current treatments.
A daily capsule of rember, as the drug is known, stops Alzheimer’s disease progressing by as much as 81 per cent, according to trial results.
Patients with the brain disorder had no significant decline in their mental function over a 19-month period.
‘We appear to be bringing the worst affected parts of the brain functionally back to life,’ said Dr Claude Wischik, who led the research.
It is the first time medication has been developed to target the ‘tangles’ in the brain that destroy nerve cells, leading to deteriorating memory.
The drug helps to disrupt this process, preventing the formation of new tangles and loosening those already created.
Last night the findings were hailed as the biggest breakthrough in the battle against Alzheimer’s since 1907.
Eventually the drug could be used to stop the disease in its early stages before symptoms have even appeared, it is hoped.
It could be available to patients within four years although, in the wake of the NHS ban on the £2.50-a-day drug Aricept, there are concerns over whether it would be funded on the Health Service. The trial was carried out by a team at the University of Aberdeen, led by Professor Wischik, who 20 years ago discovered the ‘tau protein’ which makes up the tangles.
‘This is an unprecedented result in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease,’ he said.
‘We have demonstrated for the first time that it may be possible to arrest progression of the disease by targeting the tangles that are highly correlated with the disease. This is the most significant development in the treatment of the tangles since Alois Alzheimer discovered them in 1907.’
Additional information: Times Online.
Anything that would keep our loved ones from slipping away gradually and losing their memories and finally their lives from this horrible disease would be welcome. While it is primarily thought of as a disease of the very aged, it also strikes people in middle age.