Alzheimer’s has been with us for quite some time now, but while medical science makes great strides in the battles against cancer and HIV, progress on the dementia front has been relatively slow.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and options for treatments are extremely limited.
That might be about to change, according to BBC News. In what might ultimately become a landmark announcement, scientists recently announced that they’ve developed a pill that can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s by as much as 30%.
The medication is called solanezumab, manufactured by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. It’s currently in trials, with a new report due next year.
Researchers had originally hoped the drug might be a cure for the disease, but so far it seems capable of slowing — not eradicating — the impact Alzheimer’s has on the brain.
Solanezumab works differently than other Alzheimer’s medications. Existing treatment drugs are only able to boost dying brain cells. Solanezumab, on the other hand, actually attacks the harmful amyloid proteins that build up in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains.
It is important to note, though, that this is not the first time we’ve heard about solanezumab. The drug was a source of great optimism back in 2012, until clinical trials ultimately met failure.
More recent findings, however, are much more encouraging. Accordingly, hopes are high again that solanezumab might prove effective after all.
For now, the Alzheimer’s community is officially “cautiously optimistic.” That seems like a reasonable temperament for the moment. The medication is still in trials, and as of now, the market is still without an approved option for slowing Alzheimer’s.
Might that change a few years from now? Maybe. Just maybe. At the very least, there is hope — and that’s more than we had a few years ago.