Experimental drug successful in early onset of Alzheimer's
'Gantenerumab' gives new hope for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease
An experimental drug being developed by Roche Holding AG, called "gantenerumab" proved to be successful in removing amyloid plaques from the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients. The Swiss-drug maker announced the medication's success in a small early-stage study which was published in the Archives of Neurology.
'These results and especially the rapidity of the effects observed on amyloid removal are very encouraging and pave the way for the development of a novel treatment for Alzheimer's disease,' Luca Santarelli, head of Roche's global neuroscience disease division said in a statement.
The next step will now lie in seeing if the removal of the plaque will translate into clinical benefit for patients at doses of the drug, that are well tolerated and safe, Roche said.
Gantenerumab is a biotech drug designed to bind to amyloid plaques in the brain and remove them. The drug is being used on patients at the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. It's hoped that the drug will slow progression of the disease while patients are still able to function.
The Phase I study of 16 Alzheimer's patients tested gantenerumab at two doses against a placebo over six months of treatment. According to Roche, the drug led to a dose-dependent reduction of brain amyloid, while amyloid load increased in patients receiving a placebo.
Much larger trials and further study will be needed to fully understand just how gantenerumab works and whether it can stave off Alzheimer's disease.
"These results and especially the rapidity of the effects observed on amyloid removal are very encouraging and pave the way for the development of a novel treatment for Alzheimer's disease," Luca Santarelli, head of Roche's global neuroscience disease division said in a statement.
Previously the majority of companies working to develop Alzheimer's treatments are focused on the disease in its later, more debilitating stages. Roche is approaching the disease far earlier.
"We know amyloid accumulates for 15 years before dementia, so why should you wait to remove it?" Santarelli told Reuters in an interview earlier this year.
Early, "prodromal" Alzheimer's disease is a condition in which a person's memory loss is worse than can be expected by the normal aging process. Those who suffer from prodromal Alzheimer's are not affected to the extent that dementia would be diagnosed.
Alzheimer's disease is estimated to affect 25 million people around the world, with the number of diagnosed cases expected to rise dramatically with the aging of the enormous baby boom generation.
It is expected that the illness, which robs memory and ability to function, will affect about 63 million people by 2030, and 114 million by 2050 worldwide, according to forecasts cited by Roche.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, Roche, gantenerumab, amyloid plaque
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