New Drug Shows Promise Against Alzheimer's

Aug. 31, 2016 -- An experimental drug called aducanumab shows promise in treating Alzheimer's disease, researchers report.

A small clinical trial showed that it significantly reduced toxic plaques in the brains of 165 patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease, National Public Radio reported Wednesday.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, suggest the drug may slow the loss of memory and thinking in Alzheimer's patients.

"If that hint of a clinical benefit is confirmed, it would be a game changer in the fight against Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Eric Reiman, executive director of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, NPR reported.

He wrote a commentary that accompanied the study. Much larger clinical trials are needed to confirm whether the drug actually slows Alzheimer's disease, Reiman said.

Two much larger studies of aducanumab have already been started by drug maker Biogen Inc. Those trials will include 2,700 patients, with results not expected for several years, NPR reported.

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