The Daily Mail in England has this very interesting story about Enbrel that seems to give hope to the millions of people worldwide that suffer from Alzheimers disease.
Doctors are calling for a clinical trial of an experimental drug treatment that it is claimed can reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease “in minutes”.
U.S. researchers say the treatment allowed an 82-year- old sufferer to recognize his wife for the first time in years.
In the UK, specialists believe the claims should be properly tested as only a few patients have been treated so far.
The treatment involves injecting a drug called Enbrel – which is normally used to treat arthritis – into the spine at the neck.
What is Enbrel?
Enbrel is a type of protein called a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker that blocks the action of a substance your body’s immune system makes called TNF. People with an immune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, or psoriasis, have too much TNF in their bodies. Enbrel can reduce the amount of active TNF in the body to normal levels, helping to treat your disease. But, in doing so, ENBREL can also lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections.
Serious infections, including tuberculosis (TB), have happened in patients taking ENBREL. Some of these serious infections have been fatal. Many serious infections occurred in people prone to infection. Serious infections have also occurred in patients with advanced or poorly controlled diabetes. Do not start Enbrel if you have an infection or are allergic to ENBREL or its components. Once on Enbrel , if you get an infection or have any sign of an infection, including fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms, or have open sores, tell your doctor. Your doctor should test you for TB before starting Enbrel and should monitor you closely for signs and symptoms of TB.
Patients are then tilted to encourage blood flow into the brain where the drug is designed to block a chemical responsible for inflammation. At least one Alzheimer’s patient had his symptoms reversed “in minutes” while others have shown some continuing improvement in problems such as forgetfulness and confusion after weekly injections.
They needed less help from carers during treatment, which appears to reach a plateau at three months.
Enbrel Study Results
Around 50 people are being treated by the Institute of Neurological Research, a private clinic in California, with some having had injections for three years.
In one case, the clinic has video evidence of Marvin Miller, 82, which showed he was unable to answer basic questions by a nurse, or identify-everyday objects like a bracelet and a pencil.
Shortly afterwards he is injected with the drug and it is claimed that five minutes later he could greet his shocked wife, who said he had not recognized her for years.
The experiment follows the discovery that levels of TNF (tumour necrosis factor) can be up to 25 times higher in the fluid surrounding the brain in sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease.
Enbrel, a biologic treatment licensed for rheumatoid arthritis, binds to excess TNF in the body and makes it inactivate.
When used by arthritis sufferers, the drug is self-administered by injection and researchers had to develop a way of injecting the drug into the spine in order to get an effect in brain cells.
Enbrel is not approved for treating Alzheimer’s in the U.S. or in the UK and is regarded at this stage as a highly experimental therapy.
Professor Edward Tobinick, of the University of California Los Angeles and director of the Institute for Neurological Research, is leading the research. He said the latest report was an in-depth account of one patient’s response to treatment.
“It makes practical changes that are significant and perceptible, making a difference to his ability to do activities of daily living such as getting around, accomplishing things and conversing.”
He added: “Some patients have been able to start driving again. They don’t come back to normal but the change is good enough for patients to want to continue treatment, and some have been doing so for three years. “We are working with several universities and larger trials are getting under way.”
Dr Susanne Sorensen, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “On the surface these results are exciting but we need to treat the study with caution.
“There are large gaps in the research, which only involved a small pilot group and we cannot draw any conclusions until a controlled trial is carried out.”
Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said: “It is too early to speak of a miracle cure and we need to do more research into Enbrel.”