The hope for future Alzheimer’s disease drugs
Currently, there are five FDA-approved Alzheimer drugs that treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's — temporarily helping memory and thinking problems in about half of the people who take them. But these medications do not treat the underlying causes of Alzheimer's.
In contrast, many of the new drugs in development aim to modify the disease process itself, by impacting one or more of the many wide-ranging brain changes that Alzheimer's causes. These changes offer potential "targets" for new drugs to stop or slow the progress of the disease. Many researchers believe successful treatment will eventually involve a "cocktail" of medications aimed at several targets, similar to current state-of-the-art treatments for many cancers and AIDS.
"Despite increasing momentum in Alzheimer research, we still have two main obstacles to overcome. First, we need volunteers for clinical trials. Volunteering to participate in a study is one of the greatest ways someone can help move Alzheimer research forward. Second, we need a significant increase in federal research funding. Investing in research now will cost our nation far less than the cost of care for the rising number of Americans who will be affected by Alzheimer's in coming decades."
– Bill Thies, Ph.D., Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Alzheimer's Association