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Researchers are cautiously optimistic after an experimental drug called solanezumab seemed to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s for people in early stages of the disease.

After concluding a study with 1,300 people for drug maker Eli Lilly, researchers found that the longer the patients stayed on the drug—and, the sooner they were given it—the slower their dementia progressed.

Currently, there are drugs on the market that attempt to treat symptoms by helping restore functionality to dying brain cells, but there is no cure for the disease. elderly couple with flowers-police-CBSvid

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Solanezumab is unique because it attacks the deformed proteins, or amyloids, that build up in the brain as a result of the disease—and the amyloids are thought to cause eventual brain cell death.

“It’s another piece of evidence that solanezumab does have an effect on the underlying disease pathology,” Dr Eric Siemers of Lilly Research Laboratories in Indianapolis told the BBC. “We think there is a chance that solanezumab will be the first disease-modifying medication to be available.”

Reports from an additional trial are expected to deliver definitive evidence of the drug’s effectiveness next year.

(READ more details from BBC News) Photo: CC Melodi2

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