Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most devastating health conditions in the world, yet there is still no known cure for it. Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease and there are 5.8 million Americans living with the condition today, a number that is projected to reach up to 14 million by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease is also the 6th leading cause of death in the country where 1 in 3 seniors die from the condition. It kills more than prostate and breast cancer combined. And with the growing elderly population, the need for facilities for Alzheimer’s has never been more important. But with all these alarming numbers, is there still hope for future Alzheimer’s drugs for this debilitating condition?
The Status of Alzheimer’s Drugs Today
Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved five drugs for Alzheimer’s disease that are being used in facilities for Alzheimer’s.
These drugs treat the symptoms of the disease including memory and thinking problems. Unfortunately, these medications do not slow the progression of the disease nor treat its underlying cause.
The Ongoing Development of Alzheimer’s Drugs
Most drugs that are being developed today are targeted towards the disease process itself. Researchers aim to disrupt one or more of the brain changes that are related to Alzheimer’s disease, which could potentially slow or stop its progression.
A combination of drugs will hopefully target different areas of the brain to stop the disease from destroying the brain further and eventually, cure the disease in the future. This strategy is similar to the current treatments for AIDS and cancer.
The Future of Alzheimer’s Drugs
Current research studies are focusing on some of the most promising next-generation drugs that include:
The formation of plaque is one of the biggest brain abnormalities in Alzheimer’s disease, and its chief component is beta-amyloid.
Several studies have looked into how this protein is formed and why it’s present in abnormally high levels in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
This has paved the way for the development of drugs that are targeted towards the production of beta-amyloid including Posiphen that may help delay the onset or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Tau protein has been identified as one of the chief components of tangles, another hallmark in Alzheimer’s disease. AADvac1 is a vaccine created to help stimulate the body’s immune system to attack the abnormal form of tau protein. If this drug is successful, it could stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Another study that’s expected to be completed in 2024 is the development of the drug JNJ-54861911, which will prevent the beta-secretase enzyme from making beta-amyloid, which plays a vital role in one of the brain abnormalities found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Once the drug is available in the market, it will be administered in the form of a pill.
There is definitely a lot of hope for the future of drugs that may help cure Alzheimer’s disease.
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