Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys thinking skills and memory, and ultimately the capability to carry out the basic tasks. Alzheimer's disease is presently ranked as the third leading cause of death in the aging population, after heart disease and cancer. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia among elder adults. Dementia is the loss of behavioral abilities and cognitive functioning which results in interference with a person’s daily life and activities and can range from severe to the mild stage. As the disease progresses, protein formation take place in the brain to form structures called 'tangles' and 'plaques'. This results in the loss of networks between nerve cells and ultimately leads to the death of nerve cells and damage to brain tissue. Lack of some important chemical messengers has also been observed in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease. These chemical messengers communicate by sending signals around the brain. When there is a lack of these messengers, the signals are not transmitted efficiently.
ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE PIPELINE SPLIT BY ROUTE OF ADMINISTRATION 2017
Alzheimer’s is an intricate disease and it is not possible that any therapy or one drug can successfully treat it. Current approaches include helping people to maintain mental function, manage behavioral symptoms and slow or delay the symptoms of disease. The marketed drugs are available to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life fall under cholinesterase inhibitors class and include Donepezil, Alantamine, Rivastigmine and Tacrine.
Although significant progress has been witnessed in drug development for Alzheimer’s disease, studies are focused on various promising targets including amyloid beta protein, tau protein, beta secretase and 5-hydroxytryptamine 6 (5HT6) receptor with high potential, and reduced or no side effects. The cause for Alzheimer’s is still unknown, even after promising growth in the development of its pipeline. Also, specific targeted treatments are still not available in the market due to the unknown cause and inefficient diagnostic methods for early detection.
As of March 2017, the Alzheimer’s disease pipeline comprises of approximately 89 active drug candidates in different stages of development.
Some of the key players developing drugs for Alzheimer’s disease include Eli Lilly and Company, Genentech, Inc., and Eisai Co., Ltd and others.
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