An antibody that can almost completely clear the visible signs of Alzheimer’s disease from the brain has been discovered in a breakthrough that left one scientist “trying not to get too excited”.
Researchers scanned the brains of people with the degenerative condition as they were given doses of the drug, which is based on an immune cell taken from the blood of elderly people aged up to 100 who showed no signs of the disease.
After a year, virtually all the toxic “amyloid plaques” that build up in Alzheimer’s patients appeared to have gone from the brains of those given the highest doses of the antibody.
The scientists, who described their results in a paper in the journal Nature, also said the patients showed signs that the rate of their cognitive decline had slowed.
One of the researchers, Professor Roger Nitsch, of Zurich University, described what they found when they scanned the brains of patients given either a placebo or three different doses of the antibody, called aducanumab.
“One year later, the images of the placebo group are basically unchanged. In the three doses groups, a very clear reduction in amyloid plaques is shown – the higher the dose, the larger the degree of reduction,” he said.