New drug slows the pace of memory loss in people with Alzheimer's disease, say researchers. Results from two trials showed that the drug, called solanezumab, slows the speed of mental decline by a third in those with mild-to-moderate disease, the Telegraph reported.
A handful of drugs have been approved to tackle the degenerative brain disease. Though these drugs are effective at alleviating some of the symptoms, they do not tackle the underlying cause of disease.
The new drug, developed by Eli Lilly, works to help clear the protein 'plaques' thought to cause Alzheimer's.
Combined results from two trials showed that it slowed the pace of cognitive decline by 34 per cent, over an 18-month period, compared to those given a placebo.
Rachelle Doody, professor of neurology at Baylor College of Medicine, who was involved in the research, described the finding as "encouraging".
"These results represent an important step for the medical, academic, and scientific communities in understanding brain amyloid as a target of Alzheimer's disease therapies," the Telegraph quoted Doody as saying.
The drug also appears to increase the angina, with incidence of the heart condition being 1.1 per cent in those given solanezumab, compared to 0.2 per cent in the placebo group.
A spokesman for Eli Lilly said: "Next steps for solanezumab will be determined after discussions with regulators."
Dr Mike Hutton, Eli Lilly's chief scientific officer for neurodegeneration, said: "This is so exciting because the amyloid hypothesis has been around for 20 years, and I think this is the first evidence that targeting the amyloid cascade can slow the progression of disease.
"There are lots of drugs in the pipeline that tackle this, being developed by Eli Lilly and other companies," he added.
The results were presented at a meeting of the American Neurological Association in Boston, Massachusetts.