World leaders at the G8 dementia summit in 2013 aimed to have medication on the market by 2025 and while there are have been disappointments with drug trials proving to be unsuccessful - including the large trial for solanezumab - a respected figure in the fight against the disease remains hopeful.
Alzheimer’s Research UK chief scientific officer Dr David Reynolds told Express.co.uk he remained “hopeful” there would be something available by 2025.
Some of the current ongoing late-stage trials could now only be a few years away from possibly providing a life-changing treatment.
Dr Reynolds said: “The next hope for treatment are the late-stage trails, they started life the best part of 15 years ago and we’ll get some feedback in the next few years that I hope will allow us to hit the hit and have a life-changing therapy for dementia by 2025.”
But rather than searching for a miracle cure, researchers have been focusing on attempts to detect the early signs of the disease that affects around 600,000 people in the UK alone, with about 850,000 people suffering from some form of dementia.
GettyScientists remain hopeful of treating Alzheimer's disease by 2025
One in three people born this year in the UK will develop dementia at some point in their lives.
Dr Reynolds said: “There are a couple of trials that have given positive results in small groups of patients, which is great but you have to do the really big studies to be able to confirm something really works well.
“There are a couple of potential trials that could be exciting and I am hopeful that we will hit that 2025 goal and have something available for people.”
However, the scientist points out that talk of a ‘cure’ for the debilitating disease may be misleading as dead brain cells cannot be brought back to life.
Dr Reynolds drew a comparison with treating high cholesterol levels with statins, saying the drugs can help lower a patient’s chances of getting a heart attack but cannot ‘cure’ someone of suffering a heart attack.
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He said: “With these diseases, with Alzheimer’s being the most common, the damage builds up over a number of years in your brain and your brain cells die.
“When that reaches some sort of tipping point you start to see symptoms such as difficulty remembering, places, names people etc.
“That’s usually when someone will go to the doctors and say they have problems and that’s when you’ll get a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or if it’s more profound a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
“By the time someone has got to that stage quite a lot of brain cells have died, so do we think we can produce a ‘cure’ in that some sort of treatment brings back all those brain cells, all that information about who is who, what you did on your honeymoon etc.
“That’s unlikely, we don’t have the technology to do that. Can we find a treatment that will stop or slow down any ongoing damage? I think that is much more possible and we are making good progress on that.
Alzheimer's Research UKAlzheimer's Research UK are confident of treating Alzheimer's disease by 2025