A PILL said to halt the onset of Alzheimer’s could be on the market within two years, scientists revealed yesterday.
Experts say the drug is more than twice as good as anything available and can offer sufferers 15 years of extra lucidity. Patients at 200 centres across the world will take the twice-daily tablet called LMTX in the latest phase of trials.
Initial studies of the drug – developed by Scottish scientists – show it can greatly slow or even halt the progression of the illness. Administered early enough, it could stop Alzheimer’s from ever developing.
If it proves effective, people could take LMTX daily from the age of 60 to protect against getting dementia even if they have shown no symptoms.
Its inventor, Professor Claude Wischik of Aberdeen University, said: “In the phase two tests, this drug achieved a 90 per cent reduction in the rate of progression on clinical measures, and it achieved a similar effect on the rate of loss of brain function, as measured by brain scans.
“In total we have 1,910 patients enrolled so far in clinical trials being conducted in more than 200 clinics around the world in 20 countries. If all goes well, 2017 could be when we see this drug in the pharmacies and on the street.”
Existing drugs delay the progress of Alzheimer’s, but their failure to tackle the underlying cause in the brain means that the effect quickly wears off.
Current treatments target the brain’s chemistry or the build-up of a brain-clogging protein called beta-amyloid.
LMTX, in contrast, dissolves the “tangles” of protein that are a hallmark of the disease and spread through the brain like an infection, stopping them working from within.
Previous research has reportedly shown LMTX can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s by 90 per cent over two years.
Patients, and their loved ones, told how they were more confident and better able to cope with life. One Scot with mild Alzheimer’s was able to run his farm again.
Professor Wischik added: “Until now there have been only purely symptomatic treatments.
“Starting the treatments currently available will give you a temporary bump for about the equivalent of six months’ worth of lucidity, but then you will continue on the downward path.
“So they’re not really treatments in any sense, whereas our treatment, we think, as we have found in phase two testing, will arrest the progression.
“I don’t know how long it will work for – two years, three years, 15 years – but it will be way longer than current treatments.”
Some 88,000 Scots are known to have the disease but this is expected to double in 20 years.
Henry Simmons, chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland, said: “We welcome this exciting development and would like more information on the trial results.
“This will prompt huge interest and hope from people living with dementia and those who care for them.
“We look forward to seeing if the final results confirm that this drug will be able to change lives across Scotland and the world.”
Source : By Brian Swanson Scottish Express