A new drug research programme called the Drug Discovery Project could deliver a new range of high-performance Alzheimer's treatments over the coming decade.
Launched by the Alzheimer's Society, the Drug Discovery Project involves re-evaluating drugs that are already on the market to treat other conditions to see if they can benefit Alzheimer's patients, too.
To date, six drugs have been selected for clinical trial studies and, of these, three will be tested in the first instance. Although developed and approved to treat unrelated conditions, the six drugs all produce additional effects that could tackle the brain changes associated with Alzheimer's.
The trial period will last up to a decade and cost £15m to run. This seems a lot, but it's a fraction of the cost of developing and trialling a brand new drug product.
New Alzheimer's Drugs
The Alzheimer's Society also points out the timespan involved with new drug development programmes, which can last up to two decades. These drug trials will take between five and ten years to complete, so the advent of new Alzheimer's drugs really could occur within the next decade.
"This is an exciting day in the race to find new treatments and eventually a cure for people with dementia", Alzheimer's Society Chief Executive Jeremy Hughes explained in a statement released at the start of May 2011. "There are not enough clinical trials for dementia happening in the UK which is why Alzheimer's Society is responding by launching Drug Discovery."
He continued: "We need £4,000 every day for the next 10 years for the first phase of this groundbreaking initiative and we are asking all those concerned with dementia to help us raise this. Together we can transform hundreds of thousands of lives."
Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Project
"This programme is more than a ray of hope for 750,000 people with dementia, their carers and families", Lord Fellowes - Alzheimer's Society Ambassador, added in the same release, which was issued to launch the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Project.
"At a time when the number of people with this condition is rising it is wonderful to see the Alzheimer's Society striding ahead in the race to find a cure and new treatments. In short, it is a tremendous opportunity, and something really to celebrate."
Alzheimer's image copyright National Institutes of Health
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