Considered a disease like no other, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) drastically affects the lives of 50 million worldwide. Prevalence continues to soar, the lack of effective treatment (no preventative measures or vaccines) and gigantic costs make it a triple threat. To date it has evaded researchers, but there may be some good news on the horizon.
Positive findings from an early-phase clinical trial of Aducanumab (BIIB037, Biogen) are encouraging. Aducanumab is designed to get rid of amyloid plaques in the brain (believed to be a cause of dementia in AD). Participants in the trial were either people with high levels of amyloid in their brain or people with early AD. 166 individuals were randomly placed into multiple treatment groups (various doses of Aducanumab) and a placebo group for 54 weeks. Findings suggest safety and tolerability (which is the purpose of a phase 1 clinical trial), reduction of amyloid plagues in the brain, slowing of declines in memory and thinking functions, and the use of PET scans to identify people with high levels of amyloid in their brains. Further phases will continue with the experimental drug.
Australian researchers have been working on a non-invasive technology to clear the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques in an effort to reduce/eliminate cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease patients. Sound waves are beamed into the brain tissue to gently open up the blood-brain barrier in order to stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to activate. Microglial cells remove waste from cells, including the toxic beta-amyloid clumps which cause AD symptoms. Animal trails have shown positive results; human trials are scheduled to begin in 2017.
AD has affected my life, both personally and professionally for many years. I can only hope and pray researchers find effective treatment options (cure) for those already suffering with AD and prevention measures for future generations.
~Tamara Nixon, BS, CHES