An exciting time for developments in Alzheimer's research
It’s an exciting time for Alzheimer’s disease research, with new studies, treatments and answers on the horizon. Here’s what scientists are doing to possibly prevent and reverse the debilitating disease.
The rush for Alzheimer’s research
In 2020, there are an estimated 459, 000 Australians living with dementia, with 250 new cases diagnosed every day, according to Dementia Australia. Fortunately, funding for Alzheimer’s research is finally catching up to the devastating reality of the disease. In Australia, for instance, the Federal government has allocated $5.3 million for dementia innovation and the investment is already leading to breakthroughs.
“Dementia Australia has been spearheading technological innovation across dementia care, especially in the area of virtual reality and immersive educational experiences,” says Dementia CEO Maree McCabe.
First disease-modifying drugs
After initially negative results, research now suggests that a recently developed drug called aducanumab may be effective in slowing cognitive decline in some patients. Aducanumab is an antibody that targets beta amyloid. The findings have been submitted to the FDA for approval. If it’s approved, aducanumab would be the first drug that impacts the underlying disease process of the condition as opposed to just symptoms.
“I’m so encouraged by the findings,” adds Professor of geriatrics and dementia, Dr Sterling Johnson. “It’s not just one thing that was significantly different. It was several cognitive measures and measures of clinical progression.”