Scientists have predicted that drugs will be available to treat Alzheimer’s within a decade. “I think Alzheimer’s will be treatable. I hope by 2025 we will be able to slow the disease,” said Professor John Hardy of the Institute of Neurology at University College London. He added, “I think we will get to a situation where we will manage it in the way we manage diabetes now. I can see a day where dementia will not be a major issue”.
Researchers believe that potential drugs that can specifically target the progression of Alzheimer’s disease instead of just the symptoms alone could be available by 2025 to address the increasing death rate associated with it among the aging population.
One of the challenges of existing drugs for Alzheimer’s disease/dementia is that it only targets the symptoms of the disease. Scientists are now focusing more in finding a way to stop or slow down the disease progression. The drugs currently undergoing trial fight off amyloid beta proteins that accumulates to form plaque in the brain, which are likely to trigger dementia.
So far, using this method, two drugs, which have undergone major trials, were found to show promising results in slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease based on its published study in 2015, US Eli Lilly’s Solanezumab reveals to decrease mental decline advancement by 34 percent. Researchers are still waiting for the results of its final trial. Meanwhile, the second drug is from Bayer.
Currently the statistics worldwide for Alzheimer’s disease and 2015 were:
- Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
- Only 1-in-4 people with Alzheimer’s disease have been diagnosed. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
- Alzheimer’s and dementia is most common in Western Europe (North America is close behind)
- Alzheimer’s is least prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
- Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the top cause for disabilities in later life. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
Experts believe that a 5-year delay from Alzheimer’s can reduce its death rate by approximately 50%, which currently accounts for one-third of those between the ages of 65 years old and above, and would allow sufferers to live independently longer.