Decades of a head-start on Alzheimer’s detection now possible - PFE, LLY, GSK, PRAN
Northern, WI 03/10/2013 (avauncer) – Alzheimer’s disease is said to be caused by certain abnormal deposits in the brain. Australian researchers have said that it can now be detected decades in advance. This has been made possible by a new finding by Austin Hospital doctors and will help greatly in guiding future treatments well before the onset of the disease. The doctors have been tracking and studying 200 seniors, including those who suffer from mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. This study has been in progress for over three years and they have been charting decline in factors such as brain size and cognition against abnormal protein deposits in their brains.
20 years for effect to take place
The findings revealed that it takes these deposits which are called amyloid beta close to 2 decades to actually build up in the brain. These deposits eventually lead to dementia which has no definite cure. In effect, what this means is that now, there is a very large window of opportunity available to doctors, to actually slow down or even reverse this accumulation. This will go a long way in keeping Alzheimer’s at bay. Dementia is caused primarily caused due to Alzheimer’s disease and is said to affect 35.6 million people worldwide. The World Health Organization has said that this number is all set to double by 2030 and has the potential to triple by 2050.
The dementia factor
Christopher Rowe the director of nuclear medicine at Austin Hospital said that there is now no doubt about the fact that the process is a very gradual one and is spread over at least 20 years. There have to be large amounts of amyloid deposits for a long period of time in the brain for the disease to actually set in and develop. He said that it is not necessary that all people with amyloid deposits in their brain will suffer from Alzheimer’s but without exception, all Alzheimer’s disease patients have these deposits in their brains. Post mortem studies have proved that apparently normal people have these deposits and that they had died before dementia could set in.
Hope in the pipeline
What’s heartening is that these findings will help in early treatment and the probable prevention of the disease. It is not possible to repair a severely-damaged brain as in the case with most diseases, prevention is better than cure. Every big drug-maker is in the race to develop Alzheimer’s treatments and companies such as Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE), Roche Holding Ltd (VTX:ROG), Eli Lilly & Co (NYSE:LLY), GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK) and Prana Biotechnology Limited (NASDAQ:PRAN) are some of the leading ones that hope to win it.
As per the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, since 1998, there have been 101 unsuccessful attempts and only temporary symptomatic treatment can be brought about by any treatments that are currently available. At the moment, with Alzheimer’s the main problem is that there is no cure but amyloid imaging can bring about a sea-change in diagnosis and early detection. The course of the disease cannot be changed but more precise prognosis will be possible said Rowe.
Shares of Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) went down by 0.28% to close at $28.19
Shares of Eli Lilly & Co (NYSE:LLY) went down by 0.34% to close at $55.16
Shares of GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK) went down by 0.56% to close at $44.58
Shares of Prana Biotechnology Limited (NASDAQ:PRAN) closed at $2.49