New Potential Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease

The New York Post recently reported that an experimental Alzheimer’s Disease drug may be a giant step in the fight against Alzheimer’s, in terms of preventing the disease altogether. Biogen, a Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company, developed the antibody drug, aducanumab. Researchers developed the drug from the blood of older individuals, up to age 100, who exhibited no signs of the disease. The drug works to destroy and remove amyloid plaques, which are toxic proteins that clump together and build up in the brain at high levels in cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers had long suspected that the amyloid plaques caused the disease, at least in part.

Since there is currently no cure or even a productive treatment for Alzheimer’s, the possibility of a drug to treat it could be groundbreaking. Biogen is optimistic about the results of its study using the drug, but cautioned that its research only involved a very small trial. During the study, researchers gave 103 individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s varying doses of the drug, while another 40 individuals received placebos. Those who received higher doses of the drug showed the largest degree of amyloid plaque reduction and slowing in cognitive decline. The brains of these individuals were visibly clearer than prior to taking the drug. On the other hand, the brains of those who received placebos were largely unchanged, in that they still exhibited the same signs of amyloid plaque. Biogen has scheduled several larger trials of the drug through 2020.

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