Is Alzheimer's on the ropes?

Some 32 centers around the country are enrolling patients in 8 new trials of a drug that drags beta amyloid, the protein whose plaques cause brain cells to die, into the bloodstream for disposal.

Alzheimers Drug action, from Samaritan PharmaceuticalsWe may finally be getting to the root of Alzheimer's Disease.

Some 32 centers around the country are enrolling patients in 8 new trials of a drug that drags beta amyloid, the protein whose plaques cause brain cells to die, into the bloodstream for disposal.

Elan-Wyeth, Merck, and Samaritan Pharmaceuticals of Las Vegas are all working on human trials of drugs based on dealing with beta amyloid. Most are based on a class of compound called spirostenols. (Picture from Samaritan Pharmaceuticals.)

At the same time a Canadian company, Allon Therapeutics, is working with a compound focused on the neurofibrillary tangles which result from this and cause memory loss.

The company made a presentation on its drug last week in New York, which is available online.  

It's estimated 1 in 15 of people who live a normal lifespan will develop Alzheimer's. If you reach age 90 the odds rise to 1 in 2. My grandfather died of Alzheimer's and I'm scared to death of it.

Maybe soon I won't have to be.

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