New therapy leads to a significant decrease in the typical plaques in Alzheimer's
In Germany alone, around 1.5 million people suffer from dementia, most of whom have Alzheimer's. So far, the neurodegenerative disease has not been curable, but it can be delayed with medication in the early stages. According to a study, a new therapy against harmful deposits in the brain could help.
Causes of Alzheimer's still unknown
Researchers worldwide are looking for ways to treat Alzheimer's disease, the exact causes of which are still unknown. Alleged successes have been reported time and time again, but a real breakthrough has not yet been achieved. A possible treatment approach is to break down the harmful protein deposits in the brain of those affected. Researchers from the USA seem to have come a step further here.
Treatment with antibodies
According to researchers led by Jeff Sevigny from the US biotechnology company Biogen in the journal “Nature”, treatment with the antibody aducanumab leads to a significant decrease in beta-amyloid plaques in patients with early forms of Alzheimer's. According to the scientists, the degradation of intellectual abilities also apparently slowed down in the patients treated.
An incurable disease can be delayed
Alzheimer's has not yet been curable, but can be delayed with medication in the early stages. There is also evidence that brain jogging can help prevent Alzheimer's. In addition, it was reported years ago that marijuana can relieve Alzheimer's.
And a recent study by scientists from the "Salk Institute for Biological Studies" in California also indicates that cannabis can at least delay the development of Alzheimer's. The new findings of the biotechnology company could also help millions of people affected.
No plaques detectable after one year
The study treated 165 patients with mild Alzheimer's symptoms and proven amyloid deposits in the brain. Patients received an injection of aducanumab once a month for one year.
As the researchers reported, the therapy made the amyloid deposits disappear depending on the dose and time. In the patients who received the highest antibody dose, practically no beta-amyloid plaques were detectable after one year.
Mental abilities remained more stable with medication
Although not originally intended as the primary study goal, the researchers also used the positive effects to investigate how the therapy affects the symptoms of the disease. To this end, they used standardized questionnaires that can be used to test cognitive skills or everyday activities of the patients.
"Aducanumab also showed good results in clinical symptoms," said Professor Dr. Roger M. Nitsch from the University of Zurich in a press release. "While the mental abilities worsened significantly in the patients of the placebo group, these remained significantly more stable in the patients with the highest antibody dose."
According to the university, the effectiveness and safety of the antibody is being tested on a total of 2,700 patients with Alzheimer's disease at more than 300 participating centers in 20 countries in North America, Europe and Asia. (ad)