Alzheimer's drugs show promising results
A major positive breakthrough has been announced in Alzheimer's medication, although many commentators are urging caution. Two new drugs, known as aducanumab and solanezumab, have shown positive results in a trial and many people believe they could be the key to reducing the progression of the mental decline that dementia causes.
Aducanumab, which is manufactured by Biogen, was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association international conference in Washington DC. The drug was shown to have the ability to reduce the number of amyloid plaques that form in the brain, which are one of the main causes of Alzheimer's symptoms.
Meanwhile, solanezumab was shown to have the potential to reduce the cognitive decline that Alzheimer's disease causes. On average, patients who took the drug during a 3.5-year trial were shown to have an average of 34 per cent reduction in the decline in their mental faculties.
Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "After a decade of no new therapies for dementia, today's news is an exciting step forward." He added that if trials were positive, the drugs would be the first "to directly interfere with the disease process and slow the progression of Alzheimer's".
However, not everyone had the same excited response to this news. Some professionals urged people to be cautious and not put too much stock in these drugs at such an early stage. Professor Declan McLoughlin, research professor in psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin and a consultant at St Patrick’s University Hospital in Dublin, said that more time would be needed before a meaningful conclusion could be reached.
Regarding the solanezumab trial, he said: "It will take many years to confirm it has a disease-modifying effect." He added: "I would be cautious about this; this is not going to have any immediate impact on our treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s."