MED/NEURO: Alzheimers Developments

Date: Sun Jul 16 2000 - 18:16:20 MDT

19. Promising New Developments in Fight Against Alzheimer's
"Experimental Therapeutic Shows Promise for People with Moderately
Severe to Severe Alzheimer's Disease"
"Scientists Announce Initial Results of Alzheimer Vaccine Treatment in Humans"
World Alzheimer Congress 2000 [RealPlayer, Windows Media Player]
"Alzheimer's Vaccine Study Promising" -- _Washington Post_
"Alzheimer's Vaccine Appears Safe in 1st Human Tests" -- _Los Angeles Times_
"New Alzheimer's drug seems to slow disease progression, research shows" --
Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center -- NIA
_Alzheimer's Disease: Unraveling the Mystery_ -- NIA
Alzheimer's Association
Alzheimer's -- ODP

This week, two significant announcements were made at the World
Alzheimer Congress, a gathering of more than 3,000 experts in
Washington, D.C. On July 11, scientists at Elan Pharmaceuticals
reported that a vaccine that reverses some of the effects of
Alzheimer's has cleared its first test in humans. Since the first
observation by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906, researchers have long
noted the presence of many beta amyloid plaques in the brain tissue
of people who had died from Alzheimer's, though the exact cause of
the disease remains unknown. This new vaccine works to clear these
plaques out of the brain and prevent them from forming. Provided
further clinical trials are successful, Elan hopes to begin mass
marketing the vaccine within four to seven years. The day after this
announcement, researchers from the New York University School of
Medicine reported findings that suggest "memantine, a drug that acts
on a key central nervous system receptor, may help slow the
progression of moderately severe to severe Alzheimer's disease." This
is the first drug developed to date for these patients, who account
for about one-third of all Alzheimer's sufferers. Memantine,
researchers believe, works on the area of the brain that has to do
with thinking and memory. Though currently available in Germany for
dementia patients, further testing is required before Memantine can
be approved for widespread use in the US.

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