July 30, 2008

Alzheimer’s Drug Offers New Hope


EXPERTS today hailed a new drug which could prove at least twice as effective in treating Alzheimer's disease as current medicines as a "major development".

The drug, rember, slows progression of the disease by as much as 81%, a British-led study found.

And it could benefit thousands of sufferers.

People taking it for 50 weeks had a slower decline in blood flow to the parts of the brain that are important for memory than those taking a dummy pill.

Rember is the first drug to act on the 'tau tangles' that develop in the brains of people with Alzheimer's, which affects around 350,000 people in the UK.

The study was carried out by Professor Claude Wischik and colleagues at the University of Aberdeen.

Prof Wischik, who co-founded TauRx Therapeutics, which is developing the treatment, said: "This is an unprecedented result in the treatment of Alzheimer's.

"We have demonstrated for the first time that it may be possible to arrest progression of the disease by targeting the tangles which are highly correlated with the disease.

"This is the most significant development in the treatment of the tangles since Alois Alzheimer discovered them in 1907."

The study, which is being presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Chicago, focused on 321 people with mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease in the UK and Singapore.

Prof Clive Ballard, head of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "This is a major new development in the fight against dementia."

The results were the first 'realistic evidence' that a new drug could improve cognition in people with Alzheimer's by targeting a leading cause of brain cell death and suggested that it could be 'over twice as effective as any treatment currently available'.

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