Families cautiously welcome news that new drug may slow down dementia

Kim Davies and her husband Rob
Kim Davies and her husband Rob
  • Drug solanezumab can cut the rate of the dementia’s progression by about a third
  • News welcomed by families and dementia charity
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THE daughter and carer of a woman with dementia is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about results of a disease-delaying drug.

Data from pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly suggests its solanezumab drug can cut the rate of the dementia’s progression by about a third.

This is very exciting news, especially for new diagnoses

Kim Davies

Ellie Savidge, of St John’s Road, Cosham, cares for her mother Elaine Taylor, 81, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and was diagnosed 10 years ago.

Ellie said: ‘Any advance in treatment is good news, but it’s very early days.

‘I’m cautiously optimistic about it, but at the same time unsure.

‘Obviously it won’t help people with the disease now, but anything to help those in the future would be welcome.’

The primary results on the drug were released at a conference yesterday.

A new trial is due to report next year and should provide definitive evidence on whether the drug is effective.

As it stands the death of brain cells in Alzheimer’s is unstoppable, but solanezumab may be able to slow down the disease’s progress.

Kim Davies cares for her husband Rob, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s five years ago.

Kim, of Meon Road, Southsea, said: ‘This is very exciting news, especially for new diagnoses.

‘Although they can’t stop this dreadful disease, they might be able to slow it down.’

The findings have been praised by charity the Alzheimer’s Society.

Dr Doug Brown, society director of research and development, said: ‘The findings suggest targeting people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease with these antibody treatments is the best way to slow or stop the disease.

‘These drugs are able to reduce the sticky plaques that build up in the brain, and now we have seen the first hints that doing this early enough may slow disease progression.

‘After a decade of no new therapies for dementia, this news is an exciting step forward.’

He added: ‘We will have to wait for the ongoing trials to finish to know the full risks and benefits of these drugs.

‘If they are positive, these drugs will be the first identified to directly interfere with the disease process and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.’

Current medication can only manage the symptoms of dementia by helping the dying brain cells function. But solanezumab attacks the deformed proteins, called amyloid, that build up.

It is thought the formation of amyloid between nerve cells leads to damage and eventually brain cell death.