Neurodegenerative Disease: Searching for Drugs That Combat Alzheimer's

Science  05 Jul 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5271, pp. 50
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5271.50


Within the past few years, neuroscientists have seen the first signs that it may be possible to prevent or delay the devastating neurodegeneration of Alzheimer's disease. Currently, only one drug is approved for treating Alzheimer's patients, and it is only modestly effective in reducing their symptoms. But epidemiological studies, as well as studies of neurons in lab culture, suggest that other drugs, including antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and the female hormone estrogen, can protect against the neuronal losses of the disease, and clinical trials with these agents are getting under way. In addition, several other potential therapeutic drugs are beginning to move through the pipeline. All in all, Alzheimer's researchers say they are more optimistic than they have been in a long time.

For more information on Alzheimer's disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association's Web site.