Pill to slow Alzheimer’s could be available in two years

The comments were made at the University College London on January 12 © Regis Duvignau
An Alzheimer's researcher predicts an effective treatment for the disease will be available by the year 2025, while a new pill to slow its onset could be ready by 2018.

Speaking at University College London this week, Professor John Hardy said his predictions were based on the success of current drug trials.

Hardy is confident that over the next decade, methods of preventing or slowing down Alzheimer's will reach the next level. He said that current research places us in an “era of optimism”, predicting that “by 2050, such advances should be benefiting at least a million people a year in the UK.”

"All of us are excited about drug trials that are going on now,” Hardy said. “In the coming year, we will know if we are at the start of a new era of better treatments for slowing or stopping the development of Alzheimer's disease.”

Hardy developed the amyloid cascade hypothesis, an explanation for the disease that has dominated research for the past 20 years. It proposes that amyloid beta proteins form long fibres that become plaque on the brain, preventing neurons from communicating with each other.

Last year a pharmaceutical company reported successful results after using the antibody solanezumab to fight the early onset of the condition.

The experimental drug binds itself to the amyloids in their early soluble form, clearing them before they become harmful plaques.

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The trials represented the first time treatment concentrated on the cause of the disease and not just its symptoms. Results showed that it slowed down the onset of Alzheimer’s by 34 percent.

If approved by government bodies, it could be available by 2018.