Trial to Stop Alzheimer's
People who get the devastating news that they are genetically prone to develop Alzheimer's may soon have some cause for hope that the disease can be stopped before it starts. HealthDay reports that U.S. officials announced on May 15th that researchers are preparing to test an experimental drug that might do exactly that. According to the New York Times, participants will include some Americans along with members of a Colombian family that has what is thought to be a record number of dementia sufferers.
The goal is to find out how Alzheimer's develops in those with the early-onset form as well as those who show signs of the disease later in life. The drug being tested, Crenezumab, is made by Genentech. It is supposed to halt the formation of the beta amyloid plaques characteristic of dementia.
HealthDay quoted Dr. Sam Gandy, associate director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and director of Mount Sinai's Center for Cognitive Health in New York City, as saying, "This strategy is our best chance of success at Alzheimer's disease. The main challenges are how to identify who is on their way to [Alzheimer's disease], how early we need to begin prior to symptoms, and how long we will have to run the trial before we can see whether the drug delays onset." Gandy is chairman emeritus of the Alzheimer's Association's National Medical and Scientific Advisory Council.