RETHINKING ALZHEIMER’S

RETHINKING ALZHEIMER’S

New approaches to one of the world’s most complex diseases are aiming to give months and years back to those facing an otherwise uncertain future.

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In January 2015, at age 54, Brian was at work when he suddenly felt as if he had blacked out. For the next six months, the sensation continued, going from once a day to multiple times every hour. Doctors ran a series of tests and the results all pointed to one thing—early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

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RESEARCHERS MAKING AN IMPACT

One of the Alzheimer's researchers working to find a cure is Samantha, head of clinical development of potential therapeutics at a biopharmaceutical company. Just in the last decade alone, she’s seen how emerging science has helped researchers unravel some of the major complexities of the disease. The more scientists learn, the better they are at developing new treatments aimed at slowing, and even preventing, Alzheimer's entirely. Today, with nearly 100 potential medicines in clinical trials, Samantha is more optimistic than ever that a cure will be found well within our lifetime.

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Every day, I think how much I can do to help change people’s lives.

THE LATEST INNOVATIONS

Using MRI-based technology, scientists can now identify early physical symptoms, like plaque buildup, that may differentiate mild cognitive impairment related to early-onset Alzheimer’s from normal aging. This allows researchers, like Samantha, to see brain dysfunction in patients before they lose tissue and nerve cells.

Many of the new treatments in development have the potential to be the first disease-altering medication for this disease. One, for example, uses immunotherapy, an antibody treatment aimed to directly attack the disease and prevent it from progressing. Another possible treatment uses antibodies to significantly reduce the level of amyloid-β, a protein found in the brains of people with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Researchers are also testing treatments that target tau protein tangles that damage and kill brain cells, as well as a receptor that decreases a neurotransmitter necessary for the brain to think and function normally. Additionally, there are medicines being designed to decrease inflammation found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients while strengthening the immune system to fight the disease. If just one of these treatments is proven effective, we can possibly delay this disease by five years, reducing the number of people affected by roughly 40 percent.

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TOGETHER, WE CAN BEAT ALZHEIMER’S

The war against Alzheimer’s might be far from over, but patients like Brian finally have hope for the future. And for good reason. With all the emerging advancements coming forward, we now have more promising treatments than ever before. One of which might just defeat this deadly disease entirely. For all of us.

GO FURTHER

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