Alzheimer is one of the deadliest diseases of the 21st century, as there is no current medical prevention, treatment or cure. Over 5 million Americans are presently living with the illness, and more than 13.8 million will suffer from this condition by 2050.
These numbers are highly concerning, mostly because this Alzheimer’s has remained a dark mystery until now.
According to scientists, the existing treatment is only as good as dealing with some symptoms, and it is highly expensive, reaching up to around $3 billion every year.
But if these drugs affected the progression of Alzheimer’s, then the costs would be much higher. Until now, the companies which produce drugs that aim to deal with this disease intended to tackle a type of protein, known as amyloid, which is suspected to the leading source of this brain-devastating illness.
Amyloid is believed to gather in high concentrations in telltale tangles which are responsible for strangling brain cells.
Surprisingly, Eli Lilly, a drug-producing company, found a different approach to Alzheimer’s, by aiming to understand more about a type of protein, known as tau, which becomes widely spread in the brain as the disease progresses.
A tremendous amount of money has been spent until now on drugs that target to deal with amyloid, but with little positive results. Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson in 2012 and found out that these medications were ineffective in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s. Eli Lilly also developed a study which proved that patients’ condition became worse compared with the ones taking a placebo.
According to Bernard Munos from FasterCures, more than 190 Alzheimer’s drugs have proved to be unsuccessful in tackling this devastating disease during the last few decades.
This brain illness was named after Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist who discovered during an autopsy in 1906 tangles and clumps in a brain of a woman who died from dementia. Nevertheless, further research is needed to understand more about Alzheimer’s disease and its progression.
If drug companies find the leading cause of this illness, then the future investments will be used for a treatment that will prove to be more efficient in dealing with this problem. Hopefully, Alzheimer’s will no longer be such a mystery for experts.
Image Source:Ville Chevilly