In the aftermath of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly’s announcement that their drug Solanezumab may actually inhibit memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s, several authoritative scientists called for more testing, and it seems that there may be contention on what constitutes an effectual test population.
WAIT, WHAT WAS WRONG WITH SOLANEZUMAB?
Researchers have widely acknowledged the benefits of Solanezumab, since it is literally the first drug to have proved to actually slow the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on the brain. Many other scientists, however, contest these findings, claiming that Solanezumab was only tested on individuals who had already manifested symptoms of Alzheimer’s and therefore have already shown decreased brain function. Currently, scientists are trying to get Eli Lilly to come up with a way to develop the drug such that it helps those already predisposed to the disease.
“Reliable and relatively inexpensive disease predictive markers are urgently needed, whether these be blood, imaging or psychologically based to see whether they really do what it says on the label,” remarked Professor Mann of Manchester University.
STATUS OF ALZHEIMER’S RESEARCH
Meanwhile, the director of research for Alzheimer’s Research UK added that current diagnostic measure used to detect the disease must be improved, because “25% of diagnoses by doctors of early-stage Alzheimer’s are incorrect…Obviously that figure has to improve. Indeed, we have to develop tests that will allow us to make accurate diagnoses at even earlier stages of the disease, before there has been a loss of brain function.”
Despite researchers’ not knowing how the diagnosis method can be improved, Karran suggested that new imaging techniques will probably give the greatest boon to the detection of early-stage Alzheimer’s. “However, these techniques are currently expensive–costs can reach £1,000 to £2,000 a scan,” Kurran warned. “On top of that, we still do not know how much the pharmaceuticals companies (sic) are going to charge for their anti-dementia drugs once we have learned how to pinpoint those who should receive them.”
HOW SOLANEZUMAB WORKS
Solanezumab binds “to specific, single molecules (called abeta) that aggregate to form amyloid in the brain,” and there it reacts in a way such that the disease’s symptoms, like disorientation, confusion and memory loss are delayed. “That may explain its ability to slow the disease in mid cases. In addition, there may be a natural loss of these small abeta molecules from amyloid plaques that would also be part of its therapeutic benefit,” opined Karran.
Many people, scientist, elderly, and both, are hopeful that future drugs will improve upon Solanezumab’s already impressive ability to combat the effects of Alzheimer’s.
“From a scientific perspective, this study is exciting because it further validates the amyloid hypothesis …and will therefore guide scientists working on more effective disease–modifying therapeutics,” concluded Dr. Tara Spires-Jones of Edinburgh University.
Roughly 225,000 people are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the United Kingdom, and that number is forecast to rise as the bulk in the present’s population ages. The masses are glad to accept anything with a shot at fighting the effects of Alzheimer’s.