Alzheimer's disease is cured

Alzheimer's: Ready for Therapy?

In order to intervene in the course of the disease before permanent, cognitive damage has occurred, therapy must therefore start as early as possible. Aducanumab - the active ingredient to be submitted for approval in 2020 - also follows this conviction.

Alzheimer's therapy requires a new course to be set

But the challenge is to find Alzheimer's patients who (externally recognizable) are not yet. This requires in-depth know-how and the necessary infrastructure.

According to the research organization "RAND Corporation", this could be a problem. In a study sponsored by the biotechnology company Biogen, she investigated the extent to which health systems in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom are prepared for a disease-modifying therapy to hit the market. A large number of people with MCI - a potential early sign of Alzheimer's - would then need to be examined by specialists, according to RAND; Diagnostic testing and treatment of those affected would be necessary - in order to delay the progression of the disease into the dementia stage, at best to prevent it.

Early diagnosis and treatment: some hurdles

“The report estimates that a lack of capacity would limit access to screening and treatment for about two decades after Alzheimer's therapy was approved. [...] The analysis examined the case that a therapy is approved from 2020 and that the screening would start in 2019, "says a RAND press release. An insufficient number of specialists who are trained in the early detection of Alzheimer's disease or insufficient capacities to treat those diagnosed lead to long waiting times.

"The first year without waiting times would be in Germany in 2030, in France in 2033, in Sweden in 2036, in Italy in 2040, in the United Kingdom in 2042 and in Spain in 2044," is the result. From 2020 to 2044, “in the six countries, one million patients with mild cognitive impairment [MCI] could develop Alzheimer's dementia while they are on the waiting list.” RAND would therefore like to encourage discussion among various stakeholders and decision-makers to make them possible Be able to tackle hurdles on the way to early diagnosis and treatment in good time.

Solution in the fight against Alzheimer's: new drugs

In Germany alone, 1.7 million people currently live with dementia. According to the “World Alzheimer Report 2019” there are over 50 million worldwide - around two thirds of them are affected by Alzheimer's. Experts assume that this number will triple by 2050. And in Germany, too, according to the German Alzheimer's Society, it could then be three million. This is an enormous challenge not only for those affected, but also for the health systems. The physician Michael Rosenblatt, a scientist with a Harvard and industrial background, wrote in an article for the journal "The New England Journal of Medicine" in 2017: "There is only one solution [...]: to develop new drugs that Stopping, delaying, preventing or curing illness. "

With aducanumab, a disease-modifying therapy now seems within reach. The question of whether the active ingredient will make it to approval is still a matter of controversy. But hope remains. Especially since the development of new Alzheimer's drugs in the industry has “been a high priority for many years”, as the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa) put it in October 2019: “12 member companies of the vfa alone are testing drugs in studies or doing research other drugs in one of their research laboratories. There are also other companies worldwide. ”Some of them are already in the final phase of clinical testing (phase III). The drug candidates are pursuing different approaches: These include antibodies that are directed against beta-amyloid or against tau.