The drive to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease—or at least treatment to slow and even reverse the ailment—is growing at an almost furious rate.
Researchers for leading drug companies are spending huge amounts of money on research and development. They appear confident, however, that they will soon achieve a breakthrough.Read More »
Market growing rapidly
In addition—with about 10,000 baby boomers reaching the age of 65 each day in the United States—researchers see the market for not only Alzheimer’s but also other brain disorders growing exponentially in coming years.
The global market for Alzheimer’s disease is anticipated to reach $25 billion by 2027, according to a report from iHealthcareAnalyst. The figure represents an annual increase of 17.5% over that time. It is said to be one of the fastest growing areas of therapy treatment in the country.
No fewer than 120 Alzheimer’s drugs are in development—the highest level ever. They are aimed at finding therapies that not only treat symptoms of the disease but also slow down its progression.
Researchers hope that one day they will find a cure. Whether that goal is ever reached or not, experts believe that the huge investment in research will result in therapies that will slow the disease’s progression as well as treat its symptoms in the fairly near future.
Need is clear
The need for the drive to find effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease is clear.
• The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a progressive, irreversible neurodegenerative disease.
• It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
• It is the fifth leading cause of death among those older than 65.
• It is a leading reason for poor health and disability among the elderly.
• It accounts for around seven in every 10 cases of dementia in the United States, Germany, Britain, Japan, France, Spain and Italy.
• Some 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s; almost all are 65 or older. Predictions are that the number will increase to about 14 million by 2050, according to the iHealthcareAnalyst report.
• Worldwide about 50 million people suffer from the disease, according to the World Health Organization. The number is growing by 10 million cases each year.
• As the number of Americans reaching the age in which Alzheimer’s occurs most frequently increases sharply, the number of those who have the disease is expected to grow equally as strongly.
A number of different pathways are being explored to come up with treatments.
Most of the potential products for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease that are being tested in clinical trials are based on the amyloid hypothesis. This is the belief that the disease is a result of a fault with the way in which the body processes amyloid precursor protein in the person’s brain. That leads to the production of beta-amyloid, a small fragment of the protein, the iHealthcareAnalyst report explains.
Researchers have abandoned potential treatments that would clear amyloid from the brains of patients.
In a recent new development, Longeveron announced the results of a peer-reviewed study of trials for Lomecel-B for Alzheimer’s disease. Tests of patients with milder forms of the disease showed the drug to be well tolerated by patients. The results also provided support for further study on the ability of the drug to slow a decline in brain disorders and boost the quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s.
Lomecel-B is derived from bone marrow. The use of a cellular therapy that might target a number of features of the disease at the same time makes the study unique, says Dr. Mark Brody, lead author of the study. The data showed that the drug’s effects could range from boosting the health of blood vessels to cutting down on inflammation. Both could yield results that might be promising, he adds.
The drug is undergoing further trials.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three types of medications for Alzheimer’s. They are outlined in the iHealthcareAnalyst report as:
• Cholinesterase inhibitors (under the brand names Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne);
• NMDA receptor antagonist, memantine (Namenda) that treats the symptoms—such as confusion, memory loss, and problems with reasoning and thinking—of the disease;
• Anti-amyloid agents with disease-modifying treatments (or DMTs), Aduhelm (aducanumab) and Donanemab.