First drug that can slow Alzheimer’s dementia

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The first therapy that could slow Alzheimer’s disease has been created by a US drug company. Biogen says it will soon seek regulatory approval in the US for the “groundbreaking” drug, called aducanumab and plans to file paperwork by early 2020.

Aducanumab targets a protein called amyloid that forms abnormal deposits in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Scientists think these plaques are toxic to brain cells and that clearing them using drugs would be a massive advancement in dementia treatment, although not a cure.

The company says a new analysis of a larger dataset of the same studies shows that higher doses of aducanumab can provide a significant benefit to patients with early Alzheimer’s, slowing their clinical decline so they preserve more of their memory to help perform every day living skills, that the disease usually robs.

Dementia is not a single disease, but is the name for a group of symptoms that include problems with memory and thinking. There are lots of different types of dementia, and Alzheimer’s is said to be the most common. Currently, the existing treatments only help with symptoms and experts hope a viable treatment is in sight, but they are cautious and will need to closely scrutinise these aducanumab trial findings.