Advancements in Science

Medical breakthroughs happen every day. Scientific advances in recent years have fundamentally changed our view of how Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed, treated, and managed. These advances have ushered in a new dawn of optimism and hope.

The role of biomarkers in detecting early Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the accumulation of two toxic proteins, amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which result in the death of nerve cells and brain shrinkage.

Biomarkers are crucial in detecting amyloid and tau in the early stages of the disease. The rapid development of biomarkers helps in understanding the disease’s biology long before cognitive changes occur. By understanding the risk factors of late-onset (age 65 or older) Alzheimer’s disease, modifying lifestyle habits may help delay or prevent the disease.

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Video: Biomarkers and How They Help Diagnose Dementia

Increased funding for research & disease-modifying therapies

The focus on Alzheimer’s disease has never been greater. Federal funding earmarked for Alzheimer’s disease is at an all-time high. This funding covers a wide range of programs, including prevention measures aimed at reducing the risks of Alzheimer’s disease, and messaging around the importance of early detection. In addition to Federal funding, private funding (e.g., biopharmaceutical companies, consortiums, etc) continues to drive drug development and research activities. The majority of drugs in the clinical trials are disease-modifying therapies, which hold real promise for Alzheimer’s disease.

Clinical trials

By volunteering in a clinical trial, you can play an important role in helping researchers find better ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing your biomarker status, like pTau217 level, may help you qualify for clinical trials.

Disease-modifying therapies are emerging

New therapies target the biology of Alzheimer’s disease – amyloid plaques and tau tangles – rather than cognitive symptoms. Recent accelerated FDA approval of two amyloid-targeted antibody treatments, ADUHELM® (aducanumab) and LEQEMBI(lecanemab), provide promise to not only reduce the toxic protein amyloid in the brain, but to potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Most clinical trials are enrolling people with known Alzheimer’s disease who are showing no or mild symptoms only. This provides the greatest chance of slowing Alzheimer’s disease in its tracks.

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