Dementia is a decline in mental ability, and Alzheimer’s disease is its most common type.
There are currently 44 million people around the world who suffer from the debilitating condition, which can cause memory loss and problems thinking.
Despite the fact it costs the UK £26 billion a year, scientists have remained unable to successfully treat Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
Last month a clinical trial for a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s, intepirdine, failed.
There are currently only four drugs that have been approved to help Alzheimer’s, and the most recent got the go ahead 14 years ago in 2003.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, the medications used at the moment in the UK to help – but not cure – symptoms are donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine.
However, researchers believe that good news could soon be on its way, with fresh findings about potential new treatments expected to be published in 2018 and a wave of new results anticipated for 2019.
It means that an effective cure for the condition could be ready in a matter of years.
Here are three future treatment options on the horizon.
A drug to delay decline in people with mild Alzheimer’s
Tests are being done on an Alzheimer’s drug, that has been in the pipeline for 17 years, that could delay cognitive decline in people who have started to show signs of the disease.
It’s phase 3 trial – the latest stage of a clinical trial before American companies present to the US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – is predicted to be completed by 2018.
A drug to prevent Alzheimer’s before it’s even begun
Research has shown that Alzheimer’s starts years before symptoms even begin to show.
Amyloid beta deposits in the brain slowly accumulate and build up into plaques, leading to symptoms.
A study by the University of Antioquia in Colombia are currently testing an amyloid-related drug on 300 members of an extended family who have a rare genetic mutation that causes early-onset Alzheimer’s.
A drug to clear out Alzheimer’s-causing plaque build up
Biogen, an American company, is developing a drug that treats the condition by clearing amyloid deposits in the brain out the way.
They are expected to announce results in 2019 or early 2020.
Several other companies are also following what has come to be known as the “amyloid hypothesis”.