July 09, 2020   2:22pm

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Hope for Alzheimer’s …

Two stories from BBC News offer new hope for Alzheimer’s.

The first, “Alzheimer’s blood test ‘promise‘” says that “a U.S. company is hoping to be the first to market a blood test which can detect early signs of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Several teams are working on such a test but Power3 Medical Products says its could be launched in Europe this summer, Chemistry and Industry reports. The disease can currently only be diagnosed once symptoms develop.”

“The test, called NuroPro, measures levels of 59 biomarkers — proteins in the blood … So far, more than 180 patients have been tested, with the company claiming 95% success in identifying those with Alzheimers, Parkinson’s or Lou Gehrig’s. Clinical trials are under way in the US and Greece.

The second story, “Hope over US Alzheimer’s therapy,” reports on a treatment that improves brain cell communication and “appears to produce marked improvements in some patients …” The Institute for Neurological Research team has described changes taking place in Alzheimer’s patients within minutes when a drug called etanercept is injected into the neck.

About 50 people are being treated at the California private clinic. Some have been taking etanercept for more than three years. Professor Edward Tobinick, who leads the research, said: What we see is an improvement in their ability to think and calcuate, their memory improves, their verbal ability improves, they find words easier, they seem happier, and we often also see an improvement in gait in those patients whose gait is affected. But he warned they did not return to normal.”

“Etanercept is not a new drug. It is a widely used treatment for arthritis, blocking a chemical … which caused pain and swelling in the joints.”

“…Many experts are sceptical…The numbers involved are very small, and crucially, there has never been a placebo-controlled study.”

“Professor Clive Holmes, of Southampton University, said he was willing to take this on, although funding had yet to be secured. I think the evidence that’s coming through from basic science would suggest to me that there is now a point at which it’s worth giving these drugs a trail to see if there is any evidence on a larger scale basis. “

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