Scientists are working against time and testing several options, hoping to identify revolutionary new drugs that could stop Alzheimer's disease in its tracks.
Professor Simon Lovestone, of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, told the annual meeting of the Alzheimer's Research Trust that the drugs are undergoing clinical trials.
Current treatment can help only to reduce symptoms but cannot prevent the disease from destroying brain cells.
The results from trials of up to 11 new medicines should be known within one to three years.
"In the next five or 10 years there is a good chance of having treatments that slow down the rate of progression of Alzheimer's disease," the Daily Express quoted Lovestone, as saying.
"If it fails, we are heading for the most unmitigated disaster. We need these drugs to work," he added.