Researchers 'set to unveil breakthrough Alzheimer's treatment'
A drug which could stop Alzheimer's disease progressing could be unveiled later this week.
The treatment is called Solanezumab and has been in the testing process for some time, with trials appearing to show that it halts the illness if used early enough.
It's hoped the announcement will take place on Wednesday at the prestigious Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, and it'll mark the first time such a breakthrough has been made.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and is characterised by memory lapses, which get worse as it progresses. Sufferers may find it hard to remember new information, forget anniversaries, lose things and repeat themselves. It's caused by proteins which build up in the brain, forming things called plaques. These stop nerve cells being able to communicate properly, eventually leading to them dying and brain tissue being lost.
Up until now the only treatment available has been to help ease symptoms, not the underlying cause. This is where Solanezumab is different, as it works by sticking to the plaques and then getting rid of them from the brain.
Initially it was thought the treatment hadn't had any impact during trials, but scientists then studied the data again and realised there was some improvement to those who'd received the drug early enough - meaning before their symptoms became severe.
US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly is making the drug, but at the moment it hasn't said anything about Wednesday's rumoured announcement. It is thought to centre around research which has been conducted over the last two years, involving people with mild Alzheimer's symptoms taking the medication.
The news comes as many other groups of scientists attempt to find a cure for the disease. Teams at Stanford University have already found that increasing the body's immune system can help it clear away the plaques, and have been working on a drug to help this happen.