There has been unrest in the pharmaceutical industry over the last decade over a lack of innovation and a series of medical and financial setbacks. For a long time the largest concern that the industry had was the pressure and demand that the ageing populations of western countries for ageing related ailments.
A US company published their results from a trial study on sufferers of mild Alzheimer’s disease that indicated the drug could be the first treatment to actually slow the progress of the disease. The drug is called solanezumab and the indications from this study show that it can provide about a 34% lasting reduction in the pace of mental decline.
The trial was conducted with over 1,000 patients and will hopefully bring us that much closer to defeating another previously incurable disease. Solanezumab works by targeting “beta amyloid”, the toxic protein that destroys neurological pathways in the brain rather. This is opposed to only treating the symptoms as many current treatments do.
Solanezumab suffered a setback around three years ago after a large scale trial showed the drug to be almost ineffective. Upon closer analysis it was found that people who took the drug in the earlier stages of the disease showed more promising results. The test subjects continued to take the drug for the next 2 years and the study now shows that the drug has slowed Alzheimer’s disease and its cognitive decline by around 30%. Cognitive benefits were also seen in those who took the drug for three and a half years as opposed to two years. On top of that, 18 months worth of treatment managed to delay up to 6 months worth of mental decline.
Eli Lilly, the American pharmaceutical giant presented the drug Solanezumab at the Alzheimer’s Association national conference in Washington in July alongside two other alternative antibody therapies. Hopefully we will see some even more promising results as further studies of this drug emerges.