get daily headlines subscribe now! today's private briefing

Article Index

Alzheimer's treatment

Is This Drug the Key to an Alzheimer's Cure?

Among the top 10 causes of death by disease, Alzheimer's is the only one that cannot be cured, treated, or slowed down. But that may be about to change - and a vaccine could soon be at hand.

This Alzheimer's "Pacemaker" Could Be the Bridge to a Cure

There's good news for Alzheimer's patients after all...

This news comes at an opportune time. Just last summer, the whole effort suffered a major setback.

That's when three Big Pharma firms said they were halting development of Alzheimer's compounds because the medicines simply didn't work. No doubt, that was a blow for both patients and investors in Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).

But this month we learned that a research team at Johns Hopkins has for the first time implanted a promising device into the brain of a U.S. Alzheimer's patient. It seems to combat the effects of Alzheimer's by providing deep-brain stimulation. It works very much like the pacemaker that's normally used in the heart.

Over the next year or so, a total of 40 patients will receive the implants under a federally funded trial.

This is a big move with very promising potential. You see, doctors have used a similar device to control Parkinson's disease for about the past 15 years, with some 80,000 patients receiving the implants. They report having fewer seizures and needing less medication.

I believe this very well could be the bridge technology we need until a true "cure" for Alzheimer's is found. Right now, the chances look good that this interim step will succeed.

"This is a very different approach, whereby we are trying to enhance the function of the brain mechanically," says Dr. Paul B. Rosenberg. "It's a whole new avenue for potential treatment for a disease becoming all the more common with the aging of the population."

As high-tech investors, we need to keep an eye on this research and be ready to pounce when a medical-device maker gets it to market.

I don't know just when that will happen. But when it does, you can bet that I'll drop you a line.

Meantime, I have four more fascinating developments to share with you today.

Take a look...

To continue reading, please click here...