There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but many new treatments are being studied with great potential to treat the root causes of this devastating disease - down at the cellular level.
Silene Biotech does not provide medical advice or therapy. If you have questions or concerns about Alzheimer's disease or specific treatments, please consult your doctor.
The healthy human brain contains tens of billions of neurons - specialized nerve cells that process and transmit information via electrical and chemical signals. Neurons send messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to the muscles and organs of the body. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, or a decline in memory and cognition skills. Alzheimer's specifically disrupts this communication among neurons, resulting in loss of function and cell death.
Every 65 seconds a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
US adults over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Women are diagnosed with Alzheimer's 2x more than men.
Alzheimer's disease develops slowly and gradually worsens over several years. Eventually, Alzheimer's disease affects most areas of your brain. Memory, thinking, judgement, language, problem-solving, personality, and movement can all be affected by the disease.
Each cell performs a large number of different tasks in order to keep the cell alive. In many cases, tasks are carried out by proteins that need to be disposed of and replaced over time. In Alzheimer’s disease, abnormal proteins aggregate in the brain and disrupt critical processes - communication between cells, the production of energy for cells, and the repair and support of cells. Eventually, this build up of proteins causes the death of neurons, leading to memory loss, behavioral changes, and eventually, death.
Today, only two classes of drugs have been approved to treat Alzheimer's disease - and there have not been any new drugs approved in the past 10 years. Neither class of drug cures or even stops Alzheimer's - at best, these drugs can provide 6 to 12 months of improved function, but do not work for everyone.
For patients experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. Patients generally can still take care of themselves day-to-day.
Cholinesterase inhibitors help delay the worsening of Alzheimer’s by preventing acetylcholine from breaking down. Acetylcholine is important for mood, memory, and learning. Cholinesterase inhibitors include:
The benefits of taking these medications can include anxiety-relief, improved motivation, and better concentration and memory. Some individuals are even able to continue with their regular activities for a longer amount of time.
For patients that are experiencing moderate to severe symptoms. Symptoms become obvious and more difficult to manage alone.
If suffering from moderate to severe Alzheimer’s, the physician may prescribe Memantine.
Memantine can help improve memory, language, and reasoning. It has been shown to curb delusions, hallucinations, agitations, aggression and irritability. Memantine can also make performing daily activities easier.
While these medications can help ease some symptoms of the disease for a period of time, they are not equally effective for everyone, so consult with your doctor.
There are a number of strategies under investigation to tackle the root causes of Alzheimer’s which may involve the immune system and inflammation.
Antibodies are proteins created by the immune system or through biotechnology that can bind to proteins on viruses, bacteria, or cells.
Stem cells can develop into many different cells in the body and are important for bodily maintenance. There are two potential ways that stem cells could help with Alzheimer's:
By targeting the underlying causes, stem cell therapy has the potential to slow, stop or even reverse Alzheimer's disease altogether. As we become older, technologies such as these become even more important: research has shown that the risk of getting Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after age 65, and the risk increases by 50 percent after age 85.
Phase I, Completed 2015
Stem cells were obtained from umbilical cords and injected into the brain during surgery. No adverse effects occurred and the cells were well tolerated. Additional studies are being conducted to see how well it works, but there is early evidence that the factors released by these cells have a protective effect on brain cells. Learn more.
Phase I & II, On-going, Expected Completion 2018
Stem cells can also be derived from a patient’s own fat, with the advantage that the stem cells are your own. This means the body will not reject them and immunosuppression is not necessary. AstroStem is being tested in a few different diseases and has so far shown no adverse side effects in the first patients treated. This treatment is being studied both in the US and Korea. Learn more.
Phase I, On-going, Expected Completion 2019
Allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells are collected from the bone marrow of healthy individuals and expanded for intravenous injection. These cells are being used in a Phase I trial to treat AD, with results expected next year. Promisingly, these cells have been shown to be safe and possibly effective in humans for treating age-associated frailty. Learn more.
Phase II, On-going, Expected Completion 2020
Mesenchymal stem cells can be obtained from bone marrow and are expanded in a lab under low oxygen conditions. These ischemia-tolerant mesenchymal stem cells (itMSCs) are currently being tested for various diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s. An ongoing Phase II trial began in 2016 to test if the intravenous delivery of the cells slows AD progression. Learn More.