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Fifteen-year wait may be over as new Alzheimer’s drug makes its way through trials

April 4, 2017

The creators behind a breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug hope that it will become the first new treatment in more than 14 years.

The drug, intepirdine, works by increasing the release of acetylcholine in the brain, a chemical strongly associated with boosting memory.

The scientists behind the drug say that while most new treatments cause excitement in early stages but then fail in clinical trials, this one works alongside existing medication to help people with dementia live independently for longer.

Lawrence Friedhoff, chief development officer at Axovant, the company producing the drug, said: “Studies based on theory can be successful, but several hundred of them have failed.

“Our trial is replicating a study that already shows statistically significant benefit in humans, so it has a much higher chance of being successful.”

While other treatments work to slow the breakdown of Acetylcholine, intepirdine boosts the release of the chemical.

“Patients with Alzheimer’s disease have less acetylcholine in their brains and less release of it than other people. And we know that can be part of what causes memory problems,” he said.

“The old drugs prevent the breakdown, the new drug promotes its release, and together they work better than either alone.”

The last successful Alzheimer’s drug to be approved was donepezil in 2002, the report says.

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