Health

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New Drug the Latest in String of Alzheimer’s Breakthroughs

July 30, 2008 05:24 PM
by Cara McDonough
The drug, Rember, showed an 81 percent difference in the rate of patients’ mental decline in trials compared with those not taking the drug.

30-Second Summary

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Rember, developed by U.K. scientists, works by targeting the buildup of a specific protein in the brain.

Researchers are optimistic about the findings, but say that larger trials, already planned for 2009, are needed. If the drug continues to prove successful, it could be on the market by 2012.

Professor Clive Ballard, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society in London, said that the drug trials are “the first realistic evidence that a new drug can improve cognition in people with Alzheimer’s by targeting the protein tangles that cause brain cell death.” He added that the drug could be more than twice as effective as any treatment currently available.

The drug trial is the latest in a recent string of promising Alzheimer’s discoveries. Another recent study showed that exercise may help in slowing brain atrophy in Alzheimer’s patients, and an earlier study showed that diabetes drugs may be useful in treating the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 26 million people worldwide. The current four drugs available help only to ease symptoms; therefore researchers are excited about Rember’s potential in slowing progress of the disease.

“These are the first very positive results I’ve seen” for halting mental decline, said Marcelle Morrison-Bogorad, director of Alzheimer’s research at the National Institute on Aging. “It’s just fantastic.”

Headline Links: New drug halts brain deterioration in Alzheimer’s disease

Background: Prior Alzheimer’s studies

Reference: Alzheimer’s disease and medication

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