New experimental drug gives hope to Alzheimer's patients

An experimental drug for Alzheimer's disease is showing early promise.

An experimental drug for Alzheimer’s disease is now showing early promise.

Some experts say it could be a game changer in the fight against the incurable disease.

Twenty-three-year-old twin sisters Sarah and Becca Duncan have watched Alzheimer’s disease slowly take over their father, Scott.

"We didn't know that he had Alzheimer’s for a while and so dad would be forgetting things, or he would be cutting himself or driving, not knowing where he's at,” said Sarah.

Their father Scott was diagnosed four years ago.

This past summer, Sarah, and Becca took photos, in borrowed wedding dresses, to create a father/daughter memory they say might not happen because of the disease.

"He didn't know what was going on; he probably had no idea. But it was so special to us to be able to do that,"  said Becca and Sarah. "We did it to capture the moment that we may or may not get in the future."

And now, that future might include a drug that can stop Alzheimer’s before it attacks. It's called Aducanumab. Research, funded by the drug's maker, shows it shattered and removed toxic plaques in the brains of patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

"There’s a great deal of debate about what the actual cause and cascade of Alzheimer’s is, but one of the targets for treatment is to eliminate the plaques or to prevent the production of the abnormal plaques in the first place," said Cindy Marshall the Medical Director at Baylor AT&T Memory Center.

Experts are cautious saying previous drugs gave hope in early trials then later failed. Still, the research is encouraging.      

And while it may not be able to help their father, Sarah and Becca see it as hope for the future.

"It’s emotional because we could have Alzheimer’s and we don't know, so the fact that they have a new drug to potentially help with it, is the most exciting thing that we could ask for," said Sarah.

Experts say it will take much larger studies to know for sure whether the drug can, in fact, slow down Alzheimer’s.

Larger trials are planned to run until at least the year 2020.

Copyright 2016 KING


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