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New hope for Alzheimer’s patients and their families

There’s new hope for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. In just three to five years, a drug to slow, or even stop the progression of Alzheimer’s could be available. That’s according to Dr. William H. Thies, the Alzheimer's Association's top scientist.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- There’s new hope for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. In just three to five years, a drug to slow, or even stop the progression of Alzheimer’s could be available. That’s according to Dr. William H. Thies, the Alzheimer's Association's top scientist.

After numerous attempts have failed in the past, scientists may be on the verge of turning the corner.

“Medications, over time, that have not necessarily showed the results that we first anticipated are now being retooled and perhaps may be able to show us more positive signs,” said the Alzheimer’s Association CNY Chapter CEO Cathy James.

The number of people with Alzheimer’s is expected to triple by 2050, from the current 5.4-million to 16-million people.

While the cost of care during that time could spike from $200-billion to $1.1-trillion – a good portion of that will be on the taxpayers’ dime.

“The time to act and to accelerate this research is now,” James continued.

Drugmakers including Merck & Co., Eli Lilly and Co. and the Roche Group are working on drugs that use different mechanisms to limit accumulation in the brain of the amyloid plaques considered the most likely cause of Alzheimer's.

But to accelerate research and results takes money and lots of it.

President Obama called for a $100-million increase for Alzheimer’s efforts in his 2013 budget. Groups have been lobbying Congress to approve it, including the Alzheimer’s Association, which James hopes goes out of business in the next decade or two.

"Say in, 10 to 15 years, that there would be no need for an Alzheimer's Association to exist because we've got the research and the medications and treatment available to help end this disease,” James further explained.

Another reason scientists may be nearing a breakthrough is the success of clinical studies. But just like funding, more is needed and that requires volunteers. The Alzheimer’s Association makes it easy with its trial-match program online. In just a few minutes you can see if you’re eligible to take part in one of the studies.
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