Those suffering from Alzheimer’s might have a glimmer of hope. A new drug from Eli Lilly, though still in the experimentation phase, has shown a positive impact on decreasing mental decline in patients with mild forms of the disease.
Until now, researchers could only speculate on the cause of Alzheimer’s, but findings from the drug trials suggest that a specific protein may need to be targeted in order to develop drugs that can help manage mental deterioration and other symptoms.
The protein, called beta amyloid, builds up and causes a “clumping” in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient. The new drug attaches to the protein and prevents these clumps from forming.
The drug was tested on about 2,000 Alzheimer’s patients, but FDA approval and market availability of the drug may require another study to confirm findings.
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According to Alex Arfaei, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets in New York, the study does not provide clinically “meaningful” evidence enough to gain FDA clearance quite yet.
Patients who had advanced cases of the disease did not seem to benefit from the drug, but experts note that this research presents new hope for treating what has long been thought of as an incurable condition.
About 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, and the number is expected to surpass about 15 million by the year 2050.