-“Amyloid plaques are an obvious target in Alzheimer’s research.”

The scientist involved in Alzheimer’s clinical trials told me, in a coffee break before my presentation in the 2014 ACRP convention in San Antonio, that, given that each clinical trial costs approx. 350 million dollars and at least 2 o 3 are needed to get a good answer, the pharmaceutical industry had a clear priority for funding.

As we explained in our previous blog on new markers for Alzheimer’s disease, the rapid development on research on amyloid has opened new possibilities. The clinical trials for aducanumab were the first to use a PET amyloid scan to actually enroll people with amyloid plaques in their brain.

Some of the recently published results about the clinical trials from Biogen and Eli Lilly are quite encouraging as these drugs may make a difference in the treatment of cognition and function alterations in patients with AD. Also some epidemiological evidence points to the possible utility of anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAIDS.

The amyloid scans can detect amyloid plaques in the brain and tau scans can detect brain tangles, for which we can now possibly detect potential cases of AD 10 or even 20 years before they become symptomatic. For the first time the AD patients have a real chance of being treated before it’s way too late.

The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery foundation is a biomedical philanthropy that supports research at various levels to accelerate the needed discoveries; it has provided funding for over 20% of clinical trials in AD, 500 programs in 18 countries and 85 technology companies with drugs being studied.

The great scientific and clinical progress in the study of Alzheimer’s disease will bring us closer to effectively treat that scourge that cripples the patients and their caregivers, besides burdening the health care budgets of nations. Through better public health and education, its incidence is declining; but the prevalence will go up as the population is aging fast all over the planet.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

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