The medication, called gantenerumab, has been designed to stop the build up of a toxic protein called amyloid in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s. The build up of amyloid into plaques in the brain is a characteristic feature of Alzheimer’s and currently a target for the development of new treatments.
The scientists treated 16 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s for two to seven months with either gantenerumab or a placebo control. They found that those treated with gantenerumab showed a measurable reduction in the level of amyloid protein compared to people treated with a placebo.
Although this study is very small, the promising results mean that the medication is now being tested in larger phase II clinical trials. These trials will assess whether the reductions in amyloid can also give a clinical benefit to those with Alzheimer’s.
Dr Marie Janson, Director of Development at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Although still in its early phases, the effect of gantenerumab on amyloid build-up looks promising. It will be interesting to see how effective gantenerumab is in larger clinical trials.
“The current treatments for Alzheimer’s only act to reduce the symptoms and so a key goal for Alzheimer’s research is to develop drugs which can stop or slow the disease process. With over 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia, it is vital to invest in research now.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK