Study to test antibody for preventing Alzheimer’s
Bethesda, MD, United States (4E) – The United States government is set to launch a first-ever multimillion dollar collaborative drug trial to attempt to prevent a form of Alzheimer’s disease, officials announced at a two-day research summit at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
The government is committing $16 million to the $100 million trial. It is also kicking in an additional $7.9 million to a second trial for treating the disease.
The trials kickoff the government’s ambitious national plan to find a cure for the disease that is projected to affect some 5.4 million people in the U.S. by 2025.
President Barack Obama last year signed the trials into law, which went through several drafts before a final version was presented Tuesday. The plan calls for new research, earlier diagnosis, new training for physicians to detect the disease and help for caregivers.
The trial will be conducted on about 300 family members who are in their 30s and have the gene for early onset Alzheimer’s, but have yet to show any symptoms.
While most trials do not find a cure, the National Institute on Aging says this new trial follows others that have advanced the understanding of how the disease progresses. New research finds that early intervention is best.
The mission of the antibody studied in the new trial is to prevent or stall amyloid plaques from forming in the brain, which affect brain neurons, causing memory loss and cognitive decline.
The second trial will test a nasal spray for treating Alzheimer’s. A previous small pilot study found that insulin sprayed directly into the brain might slow the disease. Brain cells require insulin, which provides glucose, a kind of food for brain cells.
Current treatments for Alzheimer’s do not do much for patients. The last drug for the disease was discovered in 2003.
Researchers say their aim is to make our brain spans equal our life span. They note these new studies are an important and monumental shift by focusing on prevention and early detection.