Excitement as US approves first new Alzheimer's drug in 20 years

Updated: Jun 10






Exciting news broke yesterday: regulators in the United States approved the first new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in 20 years.

The full article can be seen here, although, in short, the new drug called Aducanumab works on the underlying cause of Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia by targeting amyloid, a protein that forms abnormal clumps in the brains which can, in turn, damage cells and trigger dementia.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said there was "substantial evidence that Aducanumab reduces amyloid beta plaques in the brain" and that this "is reasonably likely to predict important benefits to patients".

With more than 30 million people around the world thought to have Alzheimer's - with most aged over 65 – the potential value of this drug and the benefits it could deliver are enormous. In the UK the people affected are around 500,000 and to be eligible for Aducanumab they will require a definitive diagnosis of the presence of amyloid plaques.

As our CEO Dr Dan Daly highlights however, this opportunity presents another challenge: identifying those who would most benefit from the drug.

“At Occuity, we’re developing innovative optical technologies for the detection and monitoring of chronic diseases for use in non-clinical settings such as pharmacies, opticians and care homes.”

“Our non-contact technology has the capability to detect the presence of bio-markers in the eye left by chronic diseases such as Diabetes and Alzheimer’s.  Our aim is to use this technology to make it easier, safer and faster to detect and monitor the presence and build-up of these markers and therefore improve our ability to deliver appropriate treatment options.”

“Our roadmap for this technology includes the detection of amyloid plaques with the aim of the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. We envisage a scenario where everyone could undergo screening as part of a routine check-up or eye test. If the presence of the plaques is detected, patients could be referred for treatment before the condition has a chance to take hold which may maximise the benefit of treatments like Aducanumab.”

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