A drug that destroys the characteristic protein plaques that build up in the brains of patients with Alzheimer‘s is showing”tantalising” promise, scientists say. Experts are cautious because the drug, Aducanumab, is still in the early stages of development. But a study in Nature has shown it is safe and hinted that it halts memory decline. Larger studies are now under way to fully evaluate the drug’s effects. The build-up of amyloid in the brain has been a treatment target for many years.

This study, of 165 patients, was designed to test Aducanumab was safe to take. After a year of treatment, it also showed the higher the dose the stronger the effect on amyloid plaques. The researchers then carried out tests on memory and found “positive effects“. However, 40 people dropped out of the study, half because of side effects they experienced, such as headaches. These too were much more common with a higher dosageThe next phase of research – phase 3 – involves two separate studies. These are recruiting 2,700 patients with very early stage Alzheimer’s across North America, Europe and Asia in order to fully test the drug’s effect on cognitive decline. Brain scans show the effect of different dosages after a year. Dr Alfred Sandrock of the biotech company Biogen, which worked with the University of Zurich on the research, said: “Phase 3 really needs to be done and I hope it will confirm what we have seen in this study. “One day I could envisage treating people who have no symptoms because if you have amyloid in the brain it’s likely you’ll develop Alzheimer’s one day.”

plaques: n. 血小板

Alzheimer: n. 老年痴呆症

tantalising: adj. 迷惑性的

halt: n. 停止,中止

amyloid: n. 淀粉质食物;淀粉体

dosage: n. 剂量,用量

envisage: v. 想像,设想





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