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AAIC: Hints That New Drug May Slow Alzheimer’s Progression

Initial findings need to be supported by additional studies

THURSDAY, July 23, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A drug called solanezumab may slow Alzheimer’s disease progression by about one-third, a new study from drug maker Eli Lilly suggests. The findings were presented at the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, held from July 18 to 23 in Washington, D.C. The results of a separate clinical trial of solanezumab are expected next year.

An 18-month clinical trial of the drug seemingly ended in failure in 2012, but Eli Lilly asked about 1,000 of the patients in that trial with mild Alzheimer’s to continue taking the drug for another two years. The results from that extension of the original trial suggest that solanezumab can significantly slow the progression of Alzheimer’s among patients in the earliest stages of the disease, BBC News reported.

Solanezumab may be able to keep brain cells alive by attacking amyloid proteins that accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The new findings are “another piece of evidence that solanezumab does have an effect on the underlying disease pathology,” Eric Siemers, M.D., from the Lilly Research Laboratories in Indianapolis, told BBC News. “We think there is a chance that solanezumab will be the first disease-modifying medication to be available.”

If the initial findings are supported by other studies, “then I think this is a real breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research,” Eric Karran, Ph.D., director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, told BBC News. “Then, for the first time, the medical community can say we can slow Alzheimer’s, which is an incredible step forward,” he added. “These data need replicating, this is not proof, but what you can say is it is entirely consistent with a disease-modifying effect.”

Health Highlights: July 22, 2015

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