A Glance At Alzheimer's Immunotherapy

As reported in the Orlando Sentinal, immunotherapies aimed at Alzheimer's disease are reaching late stage clinical trials: "The immunization -- gradually injected into a patient's bloodstream with a needle -- is one of several experimental treatments that use antibodies to attack what are called beta-amyloid protein plaques that form in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Many scientists think such plaques can cause the disease or its symptoms. ... It is a phase-three trial, which means it could be the final step before the drug gets federal approval for more widespread use. Eventually, the trial will involve 1,600 patients in about 200 centers worldwide. ... The immunotherapy approach now being tested uses antibodies, either made by scientists or by the patient's own immune system, to attack and dissolve the plaques. The drug is administered through the veins in the arm and repeated every three months to replenish the antibodies. Patients' progress is charted through tests and brain scans." These first attempts are not expected to do more than slow progression of the condition. The next generation of therapies will be much more impressive, judging by progress in the labs today - but of course the inane and expensive regulatory hurdles mean it will be a decade before any of it is available, if at all.

Link: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-alztest2407dec24,0,3936958.story

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