We 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.)
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.