Sunday, December 04, 2011

Monoclonal Antibody Prophylactic Injection for Alzheimer's Disease

We are learning how to diagnose Alzheimer's disease before it has begun to manifest symptoms. Genomic studies tell us who is most likely to develop the disease, and new lab tests and scanning tools can identify the disease in its earliest stages, before it starts causing apparent problems. But it is not helpful to know that a person is doomed to suffer Alzheimer's unless you have a useful treatment or preventative. Now, such a prophylactic treatment for Alzheimer's is being studied in Britain: Gantenerumab, a monoclonal antibody against amyloid protein.
....gantenerumab, made by Roche, is designed to be given up to four years before the disease has been diagnosed. It is aimed at people with memory problems that have caused them concern but who are still able to go about their day-to-day lives.

It contains an antibody that homes in on amyloid, the toxic protein that clogs the brain in Alzheimer’s, and speeds up its clearance from the body. In small-scale early trials on men and women who already had Alzheimer’s, it cut the amount of amyloid in the brain by up to a third in just six months, the journal Archives of Neurology reports.

It is hoped that giving it earlier would be even more effective and the drug is now being tested on 360 people in 15 countries with mild memory problems that are expected to progress to dementia. To take part in the trial, people must be aged between 50 and 89 and have memory problems that are causing them concern.

A lumbar puncture will confirm that amyloid is building up in their system, although they have yet to be diagnosed with dementia. Those taking part in the Scarlet Road Study trial will be given gantenerumab every month for two years, or a dummy drug.

...Dr Perry, a consultant neurologist at London’s Charing Cross Hospital and at the Re:Cognition Health memory clinic, said: ‘We know that the amyloid is there for many years beforehand and it is thought that if you are going to reduce the amounts to have an effect, we have got to do that before people have significant damage.’

Barbara Sahakian, a professor at Cambridge University’s psychiatry department, said she was ‘thrilled’ by the launch of the trial. She said: ‘The implications are far-reaching.
‘On a personal level, being able to stay at work and maintain your family life and all your hobbies and interests would be just fabulous. ‘There are also great implications for relatives and for society. ‘Institutional care is extremely expensive and if we had effective treatments, we could use that money in a different way.’

Dr Marie Janson of Alzheimer’s Research UK said: ‘Although research into gantenerumab is still in its early phases, initial results have looked promising.’

To find out about joining the trial, visit _DailyMail_via_ImpactLab

Advanced societies around the world are ageing quickly, due to a reduction in birthrates plus lifespans that keep extending due to better food, sanitation, health habits, and health care. As more people reach old age, Alzheimer's disease will become more prevalent. As fewer people are born to support those who age, the disease will become a tremendous societal burden, unless effective treatments can extend a person's lucid lifespan along with the ability to be productive to a later age.



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