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New drug shows promising result vs Alzheimer disease

| Sep 01, 2016 09:13 AM EDT

Experts believed that the infusions, given to patients once a month for a year, play crucial role in disrupting cellular processes and blocking communication among nerve cells. With no cure so far, treatments for the most common form of dementia are available to alleviate symptoms and slow the progression.

Biogen, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based maker of the drug, has introduced a study that primarily tested its safety in humans. The test, which was not designed for cerebral benefits, has improved the condition of patients who took the drug compared to those receiving a placebo.

In the course of the application, 165 participants are subdivided into groups while undergoing monthly intravenous treatment with either aducanumab or a placebo for 54 weeks. Varying doses are also introduced in four divisions.

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Based on PET brain scan measurements, the drug has reduced brain plaques based on duration and dose with the highest-dosage showing the greatest reduction of all.

But Eric Reiman, executive director of the Phoenix-based Banner Alzheimer's Institute, has commented that the research has too few patients to warrant that the pill actually works.

He added that a lot of other drugs looked promising early on but eventually ended in failure. However, a confirmation of a cognitive benefit can be a game-changer for the battle against the illness.

Study co-author Stephen Salloway of Brown University has pointed out that, overall, it is the best news that they've had in 25 years of doing Alzheimer's clinical research.

This is further echoed by Rachelle Doody of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who has stated that the results are the most convincing evidence yet - that an antibody can reduce amyloid in the brain.

However, experts have cautioned that the seemingly beneficial outcome could disappear in larger clinical trials.

Alzheimer's disease is estimated to affect 5.4 million people in the U.S. alone. Unless new treatments are identified, the number can increase to 13.8 million by 2050. For years, scientists have worked to find ways to combat the two prime suspects for Alzheimer's development, tau tangles and amyloid plaques.

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