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New Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Shows Promise for the Future of Alzheimer’s Treatment

Posted by on Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

medical research

A new drug for Alzheimer’s disease has recently been unveiled.  Many are calling it a “revolutionary” new drug because it shows promise for slowing the rate of progression of the disease.

 The new Alzheimer’s disease drug, called Aduanumab, works by promoting the immune system response to the abnormal “plaques” in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), called amyloid plaques.  These white sticky plaques in the brain are thought to be a hallmark sign of AD, causing the symptoms of the disease.  But, some experts believe that amyloid plaques could be a byproduct of some other underlying cause, instead of the primary culprit in the Alzheimer’s disease process.   

Scientists warn consumers not to get too excited just yet, because the Aducanumab study involved a limited number of participants; so the jury is still out when it comes to enough scientific evidence  to prove that the drug is safe and effective. 

The Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Study

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, involved 165 people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease, who were given the new drug, Aducanumab to observe its effects on the abnormal protein accumulation in the brain called amyloid beta plaques. The study was conducted in the U.S. by researchers from the company that makes the new drug, in collaboration with Butler Hospital.  The University of Zurich, and Neurimmune in Switzerland (a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of innovative immunotherapeutics for human diseases) was also involved in the study. 

The study was aimed at gathering information about the effectiveness (removing plaques) as well as the safety of the new Alzheimer’s drug.   The study was not originally designed to evaluate the level of improvement in cognitive decline (although the researchers did look at that outcome as well).  This phase (1b trial study) was a randomized controlled trial, designed to evaluate safety, effects, and side effects of the new drug on the brain. This type of study is usually done in the initial stages of drug research to evaluate whether the drug is safe and effective enough to continue doing further research.  One group was given placebo injections and the other group had 12 monthly injections of Aducanumab (at various doses). At 24 and 52 weeks, PET scans of the brain were performed to evaluate the effects of the new drug.

The Study Outcome

The PET scans of the brain showed that at the end of the study, those who took the drug (and not the placebo) had cleared large areas of amyloid plaque.  The group that was given the highest dose of Aducanumab exhibited levels of amyloid that were almost within the normal range at the end of the study. 

Cognitive testing indicated that everyone (except those who took the highest dose) had a decline in mental functioning during the year-long study.

There were a few health risks of side effects, in fact 20 participants stopped treatment due to adverse effects.  Increase in swelling of the blood vessels in the brain was the most concerning side effect.  This occurred in 41% of the study participants who took the highest dose.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the study did show that the drug reduces amyloid plaques in the brain, and that a reduction of this abnormal protein accumulation does, in fact, improve mental functioning.  However, the study did not show whether the drug could reverse symptoms of AD, once the disease process starts to progress.  These outcomes “justify further development of aducanumab for the treatment of AD”, says researchers.

Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease by CLICKING HERE to view the book, Alzheimer’s Treatment and Prevention Diet,” written by Dr. Richard Isaacson, Harvard trained neurologist. 

For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit theadplan.com to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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