Wonderpill for Alzheimer`s to be available in 4 years

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2012, 13:32 PM IST

London: In a breakthrough, scientists claim to have developed a new twice-daily wonderpill which can halt and even reverse Alzheimer`s disease by 90 percent.

The drug is the first to target the toxic "tangles" of a protein known as Tau in the brain that destroys nerve cells and causes the memory to deteriorate.

It helps prevent the formation of new tangles and loosen those already created. The Phase 2 trial in 2008 showed the drug, then called Rember, worked well at low and moderate doses, the `Daily Express` reported.

However now, a second-generation version, called LMTX, will be tested at higher doses. It is hoped it will reverse the early stages of the disease, scientists said.

Hailed as the "biggest breakthrough against the disease for 100 years", the drug is set to go through a series of trials and could be available within four years, they said.

Previous research has shown that the pill can slow the progression of Alzheimer`s by 90 percent over two years, the report said.

Researchers said the twice-daily pill could also be given to those at risk of the disease to prevent it from striking.

News of the drug, which will go through what is known as a Phase 3 trial, was announced at the 5th Clinical Trials Conference on Alzheimer`s disease in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

"This is a major milestone for us to have got to. If we can pull off a Phase 3 trial then we will significantly improve the quality of life of people with Alzheimer`s disease," Claude Wischik, professor of Old Age Psychiatry at the University of Aberdeen, said.

"It means if we can attack the disease early enough we can reverse the disease, we can bring [patients] back from the precipice. I think we can significantly impact on the rate of decline. It might be that we can draw out the process for much longer so that they die for other reasons," Wischik said.

He added that the development was one of the most significant in the treatment of the disease since it was discovered in 1907 by Alois Alzheimer.

Enrolment of patients for two studies has already begun in the US. The first will involve 833 people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer`s over 12 months and the second, on 500 people with mild Alzheimer`s, will take 18 months.