New drugs that target common components of several brain diseases that cause dementia -- including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Lewy Body -- have shown promising early results. These findings were presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) in Washington, D.C., this week.
Targeting protein misfolding, which starts a chain reaction of binding to other proteins, can stop large aggregate proteins from forming. Some combinations of protein misfolding are toxic to brain cells, an AAIC press release states. The large aggregates are the trademark brain lesions of Alzheimer's. There are roughly 47 million people living with dementia worldwide, and that number is expected to double by 2030.
"Alzheimer’s is very complex condition that has been extremely hard to address with the 'one target, one treatment' approach that’s been successful in other diseases," Maria Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s association Chief Science Officer said in the AAIC press release. "Fortunately, we’re beginning to see some very exciting early results at AAIC 2015 of a new treatment approach that targets common components of all the Alzheimer’s proteins, which also are common to other diseases that cause dementia. If these results can be shown in people, this strategy could eventually have benefit not just in Alzheimer’s but for other neurodegenerative diseases."