Can Alzheimer's be Stopped? (04:48)
Tony Estrella's mother Donna participates in a clinical trial for a new drug to delay dementia. Globally, pharmaceutical companies are investing in treatments. Reporter Greg O'Brien wants to shatter stereotypes while chronicling his experience as a patient. (Credits)
Alzheimer's Epidemic (03:46)
Approximately 5 million Americans suffer from the disease;it is projected to double in 20 years. Pharmaceutical companies compete to find a treatment; less than 1% of tested drugs have been approved. Genentech medical director Carole Ho and neurobiologist Ryan Watts are optimistic about targeted therapy.
Alzheimer's History (03:21)
Alois Alzheimer identified the disease in 1906; plaques and tangles distinguished it from other dementias. In Medellin, Colombia, Nelson has suffered with dementia for eight years. Dr. Francisco Lopera treats families with early onset Alzheimer's.
Genetic Dementia Study (03:47)
Salome cares for her aunt and worries she will also develop dementia. Dr. Lucia Madrigal and Dr. Lopera traced the disease within an extended Colombian family, who believe they have been cursed. Kenneth Kosik confirmed an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Alzheimer's Gene (04:10)
Plaques are made from accumulated amyloid beta. John Hardy and Alison Goate studied mutations in British families with hereditary Alzheimer's; a T replacing a C appeared to cause amyloid clumping. Dr. Madrigal struggled with informing Colombian families of their destiny.
Genentech Clinical Trial (03:55)
Genentech developed a potential Alzheimer's drug that acts as an antibody by binding to amyloid and signaling immune cells. Phase one established its safety. Phase two involves a double blinded study.
Decreased Cognition (02:46)
Clinical trial participant and moderate stage Alzheimer's patient Bonnie undergoes a cognitive test. Patients receiving the placebo should decline, serving as a control group. The study should determine whether the drug stops plaque formation.
Alzheimer's Prevention Trial (06:14)
Genentech's drug targeting amyloid will be tested in Colombian families with an Alzheimer's gene. Scientists using new imaging technology found plaques peaked at age 40, before symptom onset. Genetic status will be kept secret from the double blind study participants.
Genentech's mild to moderate Alzheimer's study ends; team members wait for data to be revealed in a private meeting. Success depends on trial design. Results will be publicized at a conference the following year.
Alzheimer's Progression (04:10)
O'Brien experiences disease related mood swings, affecting his family. In Copenhagen in 2014, Genentech representatives reveal that high doses of their drug resulted in 35% less cognitive decline among mild patients. Preventive trial participants in Colombia switch to high doses.
Biogen Clinical Trial (04:16)
Biotech company scientists designed a selective phase one safety trial enrolling mild Alzheimer's patients. Their drug removed amyloid plaque and slowed cognitive decline by 80%. Despite dangerous side effects, the company moves directly to phase three trials.
Eli Lilly Clinical Trial (04:05)
Dr. Reisa Sperling is running a preventative trial for people at risk of Alzheimer's, hoping to slow cognitive decline by 30%. Arthur Canter already has plaques. Sperling believes that amyloid triggers tangles to spread and kill nerve cells.
Alzheimer's Complexity (03:24)
As drugs to stop tangles enter clinical trials, Genentech, Biogen, and Eli Lilly await results of their amyloid antibody trials. Even if they slow dementia, they will not be silver bullets. Hear outcomes for Bonnie, Yolanda, and Greg.
Credits: Can Alzheimer's Be Stopped (00:51)
Credits: Can Alzheimer's Be Stopped
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