Little or no have served 100 years of research looking for a cure for Alzheimer’s. The scientific community has recognized that neither found nor been made in obtaining drugs to alleviate neurodegenerative disease. In fact, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Cleveland Clinic, 99.6 % of clinical trials have failed against Alzheimer’s. Scientists call to devote the same resources for research of the disease that are devoted to other diseases, such as cancer, and warn that if no cure is found, it will become “an epidemic.”

It is impossible to prevent, is diagnosed in an advanced stage and progression to contain drugs do not exist. “Much remains to be done. In a century, only symptomatic treatments have modest benefits”acknowledged the neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Teresa Gomez -Isla during the presentation of the Congress”Beta Amyloid and Alzheimer’s: the fundamental principles to therapeutic strategies.”

About 44 million people worldwide suffer from the disease and 600,000 in Spain, experts have warned that with the progressive aging of the population in 2050 it is expected that 135 million people will suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s being the most prevalent type.

“The failure of the tests is for several reasons. Probably drug being tested in advanced anatomol√≥gicamente and perhaps the drugs had no guidance phases,” said Gomez -Isla. Until now, most research focused on studying the fibrillar amyloid – beta plaques of a protein with a tendency to engage in self – forming in the brain, one of the hallmarks which can be seen in patients with Alzheimer’s. The scientists believed that beta amyloid fibers were the agents that cause the disease, but several studies showed that the correlation between the levels of amyloid plaques in the brain and the severity with which the disease manifested itself was very weak.

In the past 10 years, research has been directed toward a pre-formation of amyloid plaques step: the toxic species formed when amyloid proteins, before the development of the fibers leading to the plates are added. Researchers believe that the smaller aggregates is where toxic elements that cause the neurodegenerative process are. “If we understand very well the disease at the molecular level can do something to alleviate it, if not, it will become a plague “, said researcher Natalia Carulla of Biomedical Research Institute (IRB Barcelona) .

Experts have called for strengthening research from the point of view of prevention and stressed the need to diagnose the disease before it has shown signs: “We know that the amyloid plaques begin to accumulate in the brain 15 years before symptoms appear. The failure of the trials may be because we are coming too late,” pointed Gomez -Isla. Scientific validation is investigating neuroimaging biomarkers that serve to detect the disease: ” We have several years of image markers that allow us to see amyloid plaques in life does. View injuries when someone is alive was unthinkable a few years ago, ” he explained.

Among the latest science Psychiatric Institute at King’s College London have identified ten plasma proteins associated with disease progression. For their discovery, researchers have conducted more than a thousand blood tests in which they were able to detect these specific proteins associated with neurodegenerative disease. Gomez -Isla celebrated the discovery but has been cautious with expectations and has stated that the study “must be validated.”

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