Hang in there: Alzheimer's pill by 2025
A treatment for Alzheimer's disease will be available within a decade and may ultimately be prescribed in a similar way to statins to prevent the onset of the illness, experts have predicted.
John Hardy, a dementia expert from University College London, said that drug trials were showing such promise that he believed we are now "in an era of great optimism". He said it was likely that drugs that would radically push back the age at which people develop dementia would be available by 2025.
"We're on target for therapies by 2025," he said. "All of us are excited about the drug trials. In the coming year we will know if we are at the start of a new era of better treatments for slowing or stopping the development of Alzheimer's."
Last year pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly announced that early trial results showed the drug solanezumab could prevent mental decline from Alzheimer's disease by a third.
It is the first time that a medication has been shown to work on the underlying disease process itself rather than the symptoms by clearing out the sticky amyloid plaques that stop brain cells from communicating with one another.
The drug would be given by infusion, but experts say that there could come a time when people at risk of dementia are screened and given preventative drugs, just as statins are used to prevent heart problems.
Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer's Society, said the development of treatments that could slow the rate of memory loss in Alzheimer's would "be life-changing for people with the condition".