A new research study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference revealed that the use of the antibody solanezumab reduces the number of amyloid protein clumps (plaques) in the brain using human trials.
What is the Breakthrough Study with Solanezumab?
Eli Lilly (acclaimed pharmaceutical company) has found that solanezumab reduces the plaques that form in Alzheimer’s patients. What adds credence to this study is the fact that it was performed with people, not mice.
Over the course of 3 years, seniors who used the drug for the full time had dramatically fewer plaques than those who had only used it for 2 years.
Trials are going to continue, but should the results prove effective, this drug could be available for Alzheimer’s treatment in 2018.
What is Solanezumab?
The most notable characteristic of Alzheimer’s Disease is the beta-amyloid proteins. These proteins are sticky and when they clump together, they form plaques. The plaques are dangerous because they cause inflammation, devour cells, and block synapses. As Alzheimers progresses and more plaques form, that’s when those suffering lose more memory and even fine motor skills and speech.
However, this is where solanezumab enters into the equation. Solanezumab is an antibody that latches on to amyloid proteins when they’re more soluble and eliminates, thus reducing the chance for plaques to form.
Why haven’t they used Solanezumab in the past?
Actually, they have and many of those trials were discontinued. If that sounds suspect, the reason why is because solanezumab does NOT have a significant impact on those whose dementia has progressed to the severe stages. The drug is effective however against those whose dementia hasn’t progressed beyond a certain stage.
How much of a Breakthrough is this study?
It’s important to temper expectations since this breakthrough is not a cure. However, the results are promising, and the fact that their trials use humans is significant because we’ve seen the effects. More trials are set to continue into 2016, but this could be the start of something revolutionary.
Dr. Doug Brown, the Head of Research at the Alzheimer’s Society, is confident that this antibody treatment is the best way to slow (and potentially stop) the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.